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DHEC Helps South Carolinians Kick the Habit with Free Resources and Support


November 16, 2017

DHEC Helps South Carolinians Kick the Habit with Free Resources and Support

[COLUMBIA, SC] The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is reminding everyone that Thursday, November 16, 2017 is the Great American Smokeout (GASO). Each year, the 3rd Thursday in November is set aside by the American Cancer Society as a day to encourage tobacco users to quit for keeps.

This year, a partnership between DHEC and the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is making it easier for Healthy Connections members to get access to effective quitting tools.

As of July 1, 2017, more than 380,000 Healthy Connections members have access to all FDA-approved quitting medications, including gum, patch, and prescription medications, as well as behavioral counseling with no prior authorization or co-pay.

"Access to professional counseling and cessation aids like gum, patch, or prescription medications makes a big difference for someone trying to quit," says Sharon Biggers, director of tobacco prevention and control at DHEC. "For more than 10 years, the S.C. Tobacco Quitline has provided free help to more than 100,000 people. To keep up that momentum, we expanded services, extended hours, and worked with DHHS to ensure that Medicaid members have more choices when it comes to quitting."

Tobacco use alone takes the lives of 7,200 South Carolinians each year.

GASO is an opportunity for tobacco users to try quitting for just one day - but quitting for keeps is a process that requires support. Multiple tries to quit are normal before achieving success.

Free support is available for all South Carolinians, regardless of insurance status through the S.C. Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW). The Quitline provides:

  • One-on-one, telephone-based behavioral counseling from trained Quit Coach
  • Free service 24-hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Help establishing a quit date and developing a quit plan designed for success
  • Access to nicotine replacement therapies (gum, patch, lozenge) for those eligible

For more information, visit

DHEC Media Relations
(803) 898-7769


DHEC News Release Media Relations