Introduction: State quitlines provide free telephone-based cessation services and are available in all states. However, quitlines presently reach 1% of US cigarette smokers. We assessed variations in quitline reach by race/ethnicity across 45 US states included in the National Quitline Data Warehouse, a repository on non-identifiable data reported by state quitlines.
Methods: During 2011 to 2013, we analyzed 1 220 171 records from the National Quitline Data Warehouse. Annual quitline reach was defined as the proportion of cigarette smokers and smokeless tobacco users who utilized quitline services during each year, and was calculated by dividing the number of state-specific quitline registrants in each year by the number of adult cigarette smokers and smokeless tobacco users in the state.
Results: Average annual reach ranged from: 0.08% (Tennessee) to 3.42% (Hawaii) among non-Hispanic whites; 0.17% (Tennessee) to 3.85% (Delaware) among non-Hispanic blacks; 0.27% (Nevada) to 9.98% (Delaware) among non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Native; 0.03% (Alabama) to 2.43% (Hawaii) among non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islanders; and from 0.08% (Tennessee) to 3.18% (Maine) among Hispanics. Average annual reach was highest among non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Native in 27 states, non-Hispanic blacks in 14 states, and non-Hispanic whites in four states.
Conclusions: Quitlines appear to be reaching minority populations; however, overall reach remains low and variations in quitline reach exist by race/ethnicity. Opportunities exist to increase the utilization of quitlines and other effective cessation treatments among racial/ethnic minority populations.
Implications: Some studies have assessed quitline reach across demographic groups in individual states; however, no studies have provided multistate data about quitline reach across race/ethnic groups. Ongoing monitoring of the use of state quitlines can help guide targeted outreach to particular race/ethnic groups with the goal of increasing the overall proportion and number of tobacco users that use quitlines. These efforts should be complemented by comprehensive tobacco control initiatives that increase cessation including mass media campaigns, smoke-free policies, increased tobacco prices, expansion of health insurance coverage, and health systems change.