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J Public Health Manag Pract. 2009 Sep-Oct;15(5):401-8. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181952345.

Using free patches to improve reach of the Oregon Quit Line.

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Free & Clear, Inc., Seattle, Washington 98104, USA.


For 2 1/2 months, the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line (ORQL) offered a free 2-week starter kit of nicotine patches to all callers. The promotional plan, utilizing Roger's Diffusion of Innovation theory, targeted health plans, local policy makers, media sources, and referral sources, such as healthcare providers. Word-of-mouth advertising was also encouraged using a free patch card, which could be handed out to tobacco users. Six weeks prior to the public launch, information about the initiative was disseminated by e-mailing and sending letters to public and private sector partners. Call volume to the ORQL was monitored 6 months prior to the Free Patch Initiative and immediately following the launch. Demographic characteristics of callers pre- and postinitiative were compared using ORQL data. A media firm tracked earned media generated by the initiative. The Initiative generated free "earned" media attention, increased calls to the ORQL by 12-fold, and reached 1.3% of the smoking population within a 3-month period. Offering a short course of free NRT is an effective way to promote the use of quitlines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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