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Free Service That Helps Smokers Quit Reaches Milestone

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A free phone service designed to help Californians quit smoking has received its 500,000 call. The UCSD-based help line has been in operation since 1992.

— A free phone service designed to help Californians quit smoking has received its 500,000 call. The UCSD-based help line has been in operation since 1992.

The California Smokers' Helpline offers self-help materials, and referrals to smoking cessation programs throughout the state.

It also provides up to five calls with a trained counselor.

Quit line spokeswoman Kristen Harms says most smokers who are trying to stop relapse within the first two weeks.

"So we schedule to proactive follow up calls with a smoker according to a relapse-sensitive schedule," Harms said. "So most of those calls happen within the first two weeks because that is such a critical time."

Harms said the helpline provides free services to about 30,000 callers a year. People can get help in six different languages, including Spanish and Vietnamese.

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