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New AHRQ consumer tool puts a quit plan in a smoker's hands

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recently released a new consumer tool for Palm™ and Pocket PCs to help smokers who want to quit. Quit Smoking: Consumer Interactive Tool is drawn from the evidence-based recommendations of the Public Health Service guideline, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence, and helps smokers set up a program tailored to their individual needs.

Tobacco addiction is one of the greatest threats to the health of the public and our Nation, with over 46 million smokers in the United States. As part of the Department of Health and Human Services' recognition of the Great American Smokeout, this program provides a quick and easy way for tobacco users to take a more hands-on approach to quitting smoking.

Handheld devices are moving beyond the basic applications of personal information management. As a result, more patients and consumers are tapping into specialized health-related information content on the Web via wireless units every day. In fact, more than 15 million units have been sold this year alone.

To use the application, the smoker plugs in the date he or she wants to quit, and the program counts back 5 days leading up to the quit date. It then offers a 5-day countdown of daily practical steps to help the smoker quit, such as identifying reasons to quit smoking; talking to the doctor about medications, including the nicotine patch or gum; and getting support from family and friends.

Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits, including reducing the risk for diseases caused by smoking and improving health in general. Soon after a smoker quits, his or her body experiences immediate health improvements that can last a lifetime.

The AHRQ Palm™ and Pocket PC applications are available as a free download at

Select quit smoking for more information or call the new toll-free National Quitline at 1-800-QUIT NOW.

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