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ClearWay Minnesota, who has recently been involved in the smoking ban bill
in Minnesota, offers an online quit plan for smokers called QUITPLAN.com.
It is a freewebsite that serves as a personal support center and offers
helpful and interactive quit-smoking resources such as personalized
quit-smoking plans, expert counselors who respond to user questions within
a 24 hour period, a forum to talk with other smokers trying to quit,
self-evaluations and even tools tha track the quitting progress,
calculating savings and suggesting next steps. ClearWay Minnesota also has
a QUITPLAN helpline as well as QUITPLAN centers. According to QUITPLAN.com,
the online program "provides options for smokers who may not want to use
face-to-face or telephone counseling." Does this really work? What are the
advantages and disadvantages of doing a smoking plan online? What other
companies fund an online quit-smoking plan? What are the results compared
to face-to-face counseling? Is this an issue that should be taken to the
internet? Will this trend carry over to online counseling in other areas of
life (it might already have)?


Joanne D'Silva, research program manager of ClearWay Minnesota - 952.767.1400
John R. Polito, editor of whyquit.com - 843.849.9721
John L. Kirkwood, president and CEO of the American Lung Association - 212.315.8700


This is a very well developed story idea. Thanks for your careful thought.

Your hunch is right. Studies show that cessation programs targeting longtime smokers have low effectiveness. What's more effective are education programs to discourage young people from becoming longtime smokers (programs like the "famous last words" and "state of denial" posters around the U. of M. campus.

So why does ClearWay spend so much of its money and time on cessation? Because it was written into the 1998 lawsuit settlement -- co-written by the tobacco companies.