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Healthcare Providers Can Make Quitting Easier

Tobacco use is a danger that increases patients’ risk for a multitude of chronic diseases, as well as costly readmission visits to the hospital with complications. The Department of State Health Services funded the Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team and Texas Quitline, to create tools and resources that allow health care providers to efficiently refer patients to evidence-based tobacco cessation services. Patients are 66% more likely to successfully quit tobacco when healthcare providers actively intervene to connect them with services. The Team works with healthcare systems to promote the implementation of a research-based tobacco cessation initiative, free of charge to tobacco users.

Engaging healthcare professionals and health advocates in tobacco cessation referral has proven to be a powerful lever to improve the health of current and former tobacco users. In August 2010, the University of Texas Tobacco Research and Evaluation Team convened a consortium of academics, cessation specialists, healthcare systems officials, local community members, subject matter experts, and public health staff to develop an implementation strategy that provides tobacco cessation resources within primary care settings according to the U.S. Public Health Services guidelines for treating tobacco dependence. The implementation strategy, called the eTobacco Protocol was successfully pilot tested in January 2011. The pilot indicated that the systems change model is best implemented in conjunction with Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems. This protocol represents the most streamlined referral process to connect patients to the evidence based tobacco cessation resources available from the Texas Quitline.  The eTobacco Protocol and all the provider referral methods (Help to Quit and Texas Quitline mobile apps, fax and web referral) assure that the patient receives the highest level of support from the Texas Quitline, including all of the options below.

Pilot results

Texas Quitline Resources

There are several resources available to help healthcare providers connect their patients with the Texas Quitline tobacco cessation counseling.

The following resources are designed to help Texans in quitting tobacco through the Quitline service, including:

  • Quit Coach® – Individually tailored counseling sessions, with a focus on preparation for the quit attempt and long-term success
  • Self-help booklets designed to motivate and prepare an individual for life without smoking or tobacco
  • Supplemental advice about support programs available in the community
  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy is also available to those referred by a healthcare provider

Texas Quitline App

Referral to the Texas Quitline is also available to healthcare providers by a mobile application. This application is designed for in-office or community encounters. By filling out the referral form the app will send a secure electronic fax referral message to the Quitline. The Quitline will then contact the patient to start the program. Click here to download Texas Quitline App for Android and Apple devices.


Help to Quit App

The Help to Quit app is designed to help community based health promoters educate the public on the danger of tobacco use and exposure and to provide quick access toTexas Quitline referral. The app provides easy to read information about how tobacco impacts children and people with difference chronic diseases as well as links to training videos, health information and advocacy agencies.  Click here to download the Help to Quit app for Android and Apple devices.   


eTobacco Protocol

The eTobacco Protocol provides a tobacco cessation referral process that can be integrated into a healthcare system’s EMR in order to electronically refer patients to the Quitline. A Quitline counselor will then call the patient within 48 hours. To learn more, go to the eTobacco Protocol page or call 512.232.9307 for assistance.


Clinical Training

Videos and PowerPoint presentations are also available to provide information about tobacco cessation resources and train staff to use the eTobacco Protocol.



Please contact us if you would like more information about the healthcare systems change initiatives or any of these resources.