MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., accounting for one in every five deaths each year.
The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control announced that free nicotine replacement therapy is available to smokers who do not have health insurance through the agency's tobacco quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
"Many people without health insurance delay using effective aids like nicotine gum or patches to help them quit smoking because they worry about the costs," said Sharon Biggers, Director of the agency's tobacco prevention and control division. "To overcome this barrier and increase the likelihood of a successful quit attempt, DHEC helps the uninsured access nicotine replacement therapies at no cost to them through our tobacco quitline."
Tobacco users who want to kick the habit in 2014 can call the SC Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). The quitline is open from 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily.
All South Carolinians, insured or uninsured, who call the quitline are guaranteed at least one free session with a trained quit coach and a referral to local resources. Many callers are eligible for up to five free sessions with a quit coach, and pregnant tobacco users can get up to 10 free sessions. Free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as gum, lozenges or patches, is available for callers who do not have health insurance.
Callers who receive quitline services are 60 percent more likely to quit successfully than those trying to quit on their own, according to DHEC. While services are for both insured and uninsured, only the uninsured are eligible for the free NRT which will be sent to the caller within one week of the session.
"Every caller can expect a one-on-one session with a professionally-trained quit coach who can assist with identifying triggers, dealing with cravings, and setting a quit date," says Lindsey Evans with DHEC media relations.
Local residents are positive about this initiative, because it helps the uninsured.
"I think that people that have the resources to quit are more likely to do it and stay focused on it but those that are under privileged or have a more difficult time, they may take the easier route which sometimes is just continuing to smoke," says Myrtle Beach resident Janelle Davis.
An estimated 759,000 South Carolinians smoke cigarettes. For every dollar spent on DHEC's smoking cessation programs, South Carolina saves an estimated $5.44 in medical expenses, lost productivity and other costs.
Thursday, April 24 2014 9:50 PM EDT2014-04-25 01:50:44 GMT
SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A WMBF News crews saw authorities remove a car from a Walmart parking lot after responding to a shoplifting incident. Authorities arrested the shoplifting suspect at the WalmartMore >>
A WMBF News crews saw authorities remove a car from a Walmart parking lot after responding to a shoplifting incident.More >>
Thursday, April 24 2014 9:47 PM EDT2014-04-25 01:47:03 GMT
FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) Florence County said buying four new fire trucks is going to lower taxes. Improve response times and make up for a lack of manpower. The Olanta Fire Station is gettingMore >>
Council members of Florence County said buying four new fire trucks is going to lower taxes. Improve response times and make up for a lack of manpower.More >>
Thursday, April 24 2014 9:44 PM EDT2014-04-25 01:44:45 GMT
MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - A HAZMAT situation is underway at Wachesaw Plantation East on Riverwood Drive. Several emergency crews are on the scene working to assess the situation, according to Gary MocarskiMore >>
Five patients were transported to area hospitals after too much chlorine leaked into a pool at Wachesaw Plantation East on Riverwood Drive. More >>
Thursday, April 24 2014 8:59 PM EDT2014-04-25 00:59:27 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The head of Coast RTA has been running the area's only mass transit system for nearly 10 years now. And for nearly 10 years, he has had to endure the wrath from an army of criticsMore >>
After 10 years as CEO of Coast RTA, Myers Rollins points to a significant financial and operational turnaround under his tenure, while critics lambaste him for several missteps. WMBF investigated the controversy brewing at the Coast RTA to see who's getting thrown "Under the Bus"More >>
Thursday, April 24 2014 8:44 PM EDT2014-04-25 00:44:32 GMT
DILLON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A convenience store clerk was murdered Monday night during an apparent robbery on Highway 9 East in Dillon County, officials confirmed. The clerk was closing the 20/20 ConvenientMore >>
A Dillon man has been arrested in connection to the convenience store robbery that happened Monday. More >>
Thursday, April 24 2014 8:35 PM EDT2014-04-25 00:35:44 GMT
MONDAY AT 11PM – A local teenager disappeared last summer – but it was not without a trace. "When I found that car, I knew right then he was gone," said the grandfather of Zachary Malinowski, the AynorMore >>
Tune in to WMBF News on Monday at 11 p.m. as we uncover new details in the search for Zachary Malinowski.More >>
Thursday, April 24 2014 7:46 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:46:29 GMT
GALIVANTS FERRY, SC (WMBF) - A helicopter is en route to a burn victim on Highway 129. The victim was refueling a lawn mower and suffers injuries from a flash fire, according to Scott Thompson with HorryMore >>
A helicopter is en route to a burn victim on Highway 129. The victim was refueling a lawn mower and suffers injuries from a flash fire, according to Scott Thompson with HCFR.More >>
Thursday, April 24 2014 7:13 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:13:24 GMT
TABOR CITY, NC (WECT) - It could be months before the family of a South Columbus High School student knows what lead to the teen's unexpected death. Jaqwan Cephus McGill collapsed at a convenience storeMore >>
It could be months before the family of a South Columbus High School student knows what led to the teen's unexpected death.More >>
Thursday, April 24 2014 6:41 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:41:26 GMT
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF)- Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching and with it comes the set deadline for completion of the current widening project happening on Highway 501. Crews are working to widenMore >>
Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching and with it comes the set deadline for completion of the current widening project happening on Highway 501. Crews are working to widen the road from two lanes to three on the inland bound lanes.More >>
Thursday, April 24 2014 6:32 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:32:05 GMT
Socastee (WMBF) - Standing by her side while she gave her acceptance speech at Wednesday night's Teacher of the Year Gala in Colombia was one of Jennifer Ainsworth's special needs students. "It was soMore >>
Standing by her side while she gave her acceptance speech at Wednesday night's Teacher of the Year Gala in Columbia was one of Jennifer Ainsworth's students with special needs.