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Russ, 56, a State Health Plan member from Raleigh, was just 13 years old when he picked up his first cigarette. He didn't realize it then, but the habit would take over his existence. "Cigarettes controlled my life," he recalled. "My plans were constantly evolving around how I was going to fit in a cigarette break."

Finally, more than 43 years later, he decided to quit - once and for all. For support, he turned to QuitlineNC. 

"Cigarettes were killing me. I had a heart attack and knew I had to quit," Russ said. "It was great that the Quit Coaches were so encouraging. I had someone to talk to that understood my struggle and offered strategies to help me quit."

The program, combined with Russ' determination, accomplished what had seemed impossible - to quit smoking for good. The best thing about QuitlineNC? "The calls were every couple of weeks," he said. "It was like the universe saying, 'Hey, this is what you should be doing!'"

Quitting is not easy. But – as Russ proved – with a strong support system, it is possible. If you or a loved one is thinking about quitting tobacco use, please call the QuitlineNC program at 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669). Or visit the State Health Plan website to see what other resources​ are available to help you quit.

Members eligible for NC HealthSmart services are members whose primary health coverage is through the State Health Plan. Federal law prohibits the Plan from using your personal health information to discriminate against you in any way or from giving this information to your employing agency/school or other unauthorized third party, unless required by law.