JSI’s Responsive Tobacco-cessation Resource Center Led the Way for Other Tobacco Helplines Nationwide

April 2nd, 2013 | Story


Smoking remains a major public health concern, even as more people in the United States quit and fewer people start smoking. JSI contributed to the reduction in tobacco use prevalence rates in New England, helping more than 141,000 residents through the country’s second oldest Smokers’ Helpline for the Massachusetts, Rhode Island (RI), and New Hampshire (NH) state health departments.

JSI provided science-based and culturally informed tobacco treatment services that helped smokers and other tobacco users overcome their addiction through multi-session coaching over the phone, quit guides, social media outreach, and nicotine replacement therapy patches. Hear first-hand what one client had to say about how JSI helped him quit.

Mobile marketing helped promote the Try to Stop Tobacco at various events.
Mobile marketing helped promote the Try to Stop Tobacco at various events.
How change happened

On-going innovations designed for JSI’s responsive resource center distinguished the initiative and led the way for other tobacco helplines nationwide.

In 2001, JSI launched trytostop.org, the first free interactive tobacco treatment website linked to a telephone helpline in the country. While other state tobacco websites offered only static information, JSI conceptualized and authored the Quit Wizard, a tobacco cessation software application that allowed users to assess their stage of change, develop a quit plan, and come back for help as needed. Ten years before the swell of social media, JSI’s online “talk to the expert” forums and member-based quitting community for peer support were used by more than 65,000 smokers.

The integrated QuitWorks program, launched in 2004, was the first in the country to deliver patient referrals and status reports to providers. Prior to QuitWorks, protocols for universal referral and closed-loop reports, results of patient tobacco treatment service utilization, and outcomes were unknown to providers. QuitWorks was promoted by the Centers for Disease Control as a best practice for population-based tobacco intervention and served as a model for tobacco helplines around the country.

JSI was one of the first tobacco helpline vendors to develop a fully electronic referral and report system through the Health-e-link data exchange application. This completely HIPAA compliant innovation was deemed essential during the beginning of our nationwide health care system transition to electronic medical records as a result of the influence of the Affordable Care Act. With the ease of just one click, this innovation led to dramatic increases in tobacco treatment referrals immediately upon initiation.

The web-based client management database gave funders secure access to tobacco call center information in real time. This functionality became a prototype used by other tobacco quitline vendors.

The use of social media to attract a younger population and increase the accessibility of tobacco treatment was also a component of the program. JSI created and managed text messaging programs for our New Hampshire and Rhode Island (Text 2 Be an Ex) clients, thus increasing our mobile health platforms by distributing public health information without the need for internet access.

Partnership and collaboration were critical to success. Over the course of the Tobacco Helpline project, JSI initiated and cultivated collaborations with hundreds of programs and organizations to garner their support for our tobacco cessation and education work on behalf of the Tri-state Helpline initiative. JSI also collaborated with media partners, local and national tobacco-free coalitions, health care providers, insurers, and other community, state, and federal agencies that supported the advancement of the tobacco control agenda.

Advocacy was also important to effect change and JSI routinely briefed policymakers and educate the general public on the harms of tobacco including the surge in the use of smokeless tobacco affecting New England teens. JSI provided input into policies and laws that influence state cessation strategies and partnered with other organizations to address the needs of underserved populations including LGBTQ, communities of color, and seniors attempting to quit tobacco. JSI’s investment in the communities we serve set us apart from quitlines that do not consider the unique aspects of the populations they serve.

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