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Using Free Patches to Improve Reach of the Oregon Quit Line

Deprey, Mona; McAfee, Tim; Bush, Terry; McClure, Jennifer B.; Zbikowski, Susan; Mahoney, Lisa

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: September-October 2009 - Volume 15 - Issue 5 - p 401–408
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181952345
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For 2½ 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.

This article describes promotional efforts for the Free Patch Initiative, the collaboration of health plans in the promotion, volume of calls to the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line, and characteristics of Oregon Tobacco Quit Line participants 6 months before and immediately after the launch and promotion of free nicotine replacement therapy.

Mona Deprey, MS, is Manager of Research Operations at Free & Clear, Inc., Seattle, Washington.

Tim McAfee, MD, MPH, is Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Clinical and Behavioral Sciences at Free & Clear, Inc., Seattle, Washington.

Terry Bush, PhD, is a Research Scientist at Free & Clear, Inc., Seattle, Washington.

Jennifer B. McClure, PhD, is Associate Director of Research and an Associate Investigator at Group Health Center for Health Studies, Seattle, Washington, and an Affiliate Associate Professor in the University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle, Washington.

Susan Zbikowski, PhD, is Vice President of Clinical and Behavioral Sciences (CBS) at Free & Clear, Inc., Seattle, Washington.

Lisa Mahoney, MPH, is Senior Data Analyst at Free & Clear, Inc., Seattle, Washington.

Corresponding Author: Mona Deprey, MS, Free & Clear, Inc, 999 Third Ave, Suite 2100, Seattle, WA 98104 (mona.deprey@freeclear.com).

This project was supported by the Oregon Department of Human Services' Tobacco Prevention & Education Program (TPEP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We thank Heidi Grossman, Anne Perez, Amy Burk, and Ken Wassum (of Free & Clear, Inc) and Nancy Clarke and Cathryn Cushing of TPEP for their valuable contributions to the design and implementation of this study. We also thank Jennifer Cinnamon for her assistance in manuscript preparation.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.