The Influence of State-Specific Quitline Numbers on Call Volume During a National Tobacco Education Campaign Promoting 1-800-QUIT-NOW
INTRODUCTION: Previous research has shown that the first federally funded national tobacco education campaign (Tips) increased calls to the national quitline portal (1-800-QUIT-NOW). Quitlines in 13 states have alternate state-specific telephone numbers. This study examined quitline calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW in states with and without alternate numbers during the Tips campaign. METHODS: We used data on calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW from all US states and the District of Columbia from 2 weeks before to 2 weeks after the 2012 Tips campaign. Similar data were obtained for California's alternate number, 1-800-NO-BUTTS. Multivariate linear models examined whether an interaction existed between Tips exposure, as measured by gross rating points, and presence of an alternate quitline number as well as the effect of Tips on calls to California's 1-800-NO-BUTTS. RESULTS: Having an alternate quitline number did not affect the rate of increase in calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW, but it was associated with lower absolute numbers of calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW. On average, states with alternate numbers had 98 fewer calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW per week in a given area code than those without an alternate number (P < .001). In California, Tips gross rating points were positively correlated with calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW (b = 38.5, P < .001) and to 1-800-NO-BUTTS (b = 14.1, P < .05). CONCLUSIONS: The Tips campaign had the same effect in increasing calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW in states with and without alternate quitline numbers and had a modest spillover effect on calls to California's alternate number. States may consider the advantages and disadvantages of having alternate quitline numbers given continued national promotions of 1-800-QUIT-NOW. IMPLICATIONS: This is the first study that assesses whether the impact of a national tobacco education campaign promoting the national quitline portal number was influenced by the presence of state-specific quitline numbers and whether there was any spillover effect on calls to states' alternate quitline numbers. This study provides important information for states to consider the advantages and disadvantages of maintaining state-specific quitline numbers.