Tribal health organization and community tobacco quit resources: Part 5 in a series on tobacco use and prevention for Alaska Native peopleMay 15, 2015
Tobacco use is a leading health concern for Alaska; in fact, about 1 out of 3 Alaska Native people use tobacco. To protect the health of our people, ANTHC has made it a top priority to provide tobacco-quit resources and reduce the use of tobacco within the Alaska Tribal Health System.
In 2010, the ANTHC Board of Directors supported the development of an ongoing initiative to increase tobacco cessation services for patients at ANMC by ensuring that every patient is asked about tobacco use, those that use tobacco are advised to quit, and then referred to a tobacco cessation program. Since the inception of the initiative, referral rates to cessation services have increased, along with access to services, as many patients were unaware that the program existed.
Research shows that counseling, in addition to the use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy, dramatically increases the chances of someone quitting tobacco and staying tobacco-free. In addition to education and Nicotine Replacement Therapy such as gum, patches and other medication options, ANTHC tobacco cessation counselors are trained in motivational interviewing to help patients customize a quit plan. The ANTHC tobacco cessation program follows patients for 52 weeks after their quit date and tracks quit rates at 26 weeks. Currently, the program’s success rate at 26 weeks is 44 percent.
The ANTHC Tobacco Prevention and Control Program does not just work with patients at ANMC in Anchorage. Once a patient returns home, the program will transfer the patient to their regional clinic for continued follow-up and Nicotine Replacement Therapy refills. If a patient is from a region that does not have a local cessation program, ANTHC will refer them to the Alaska Tobacco Quit Line, which is a statewide program free to any Alaskan.
To ensure that everyone has equal access to cessation services, ANTHC has made it a commitment to make cessation services readily available to both patients and employees. Counseling and Nicotine Replacement Therapy are offered free of charge to all ANTHC employees. To enroll in the program or to learn more, please call 907-729-4343.
To access Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line go to: www.alaskaquitline.com or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW
You can engage with other smoke-free advocates at the Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance Smokefree Alaska Summit on May 20-22 in Anchorage. Visit the summit website for more information and registration: http://www.alaskatca.org/workgroups/tobacco-summit.