DENVER (CBS4)– Those hoping to kick the habit of lighting up can get some extra help from the Colorado QuitLine. The free call-in service has helped more than 77,000 people stop smoking in the past decade.

There are hundreds of health risks associated with smoking, but smokers find it hard to kick the habit.

According to the Centers for Disease Control more than 658,000 adults in Colorado smoke cigarettes.

“I don’t see myself giving them up right at this point,” said one smoker. “Never a New Year’s resolution. They never get fulfilled.”

The Colorado QuitLine is funded through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. National Jewish Health operates the Colorado QuitLine.

Those who answer the phone are upbeat and practiced in listening to frustrated smokers. They offer individual support for those struggling to quit tobacco.

“So, Robert, good for you for calling today and deciding you want to quit the cigarettes,” said one QuitLine trained coach. “If you can find a way to get yourself distracted so you don’t focus on that urge to smoke it can be very helpful.”

Trained QuitLine coaches are on the phones from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.

In December 2012 they celebrated 10 years with a 36 percent success rate.

“We’ve seen on average, 20 people that quit per day and that equates to more than 75,000 people that have quit,” said QuitLine spokesman Joseph Thompson. “We’ve decreased the cases of COPD by over 15,000, lung cancer by 5,000 and heart disease by 20,000.”

The goal at QuitLine is to hang up the phones, for good.

“As bad as this sounds, we would love to work ourselves out of a job if everyone could quit. That’s what we would be happy to see,” said Thompson.

Advice for smokers trying to kick the habit from Colorado QuitLine:

  • Call the QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW
  • Start early by getting rid of all the tobacco from your home
  • Tell people about plans to quit, finding support is key
  • Manage stress with exercise, sleep and proper nutrition
  • Use alternatives such as snacking on vegetables or use a cut-down straw to mimic the hand to mouth motion of smoking

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