Beginning July 1, 2008, the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program will offer free nicotine patch kits to smokers who call the State's Quitline at 1-800-Try-To-STOP. This offer is good through August 31, 2008 or while supplies last.The kits include a two-week supply of patches, along with quit tips and information on resources for smokers who want to quit. Retail value is approximately $50 per kit.Research shows that people who use medications like the patch are more than twice as likely to quit for good as those who try to quit on their own.There are no income restrictions on this offer. Most smokers will qualify for free patches, though those with certain medical conditions – pregnancy, recent heart attack, and other medical conditions – will not qualify.We anticipate that a $1.00 per pack cigarette tax increase will go into effect in the next few months. Research shows that many smokers will attempt to quit at that time.
I'm not at all sold on the wisdom of increasing the tobacco tax but it's wonderful that free help is available. Hopefully more states will follow my home state's lead.