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IMPORTANT LEGACY NOTICE: Legacy Programs have not been reviewed by the current National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). The programs in this database were reviewed only under the previous National Registry of Effective Prevention Programs system. This section is intended to be used for historical reference only. If you would like more information about a program listed here, please contact the program developer directly. The program developer of each Legacy Program listed here agreed to post program information on this site.

California Smoker's Helpline

Brief Program Description

The California Smokers' Helpline program is a telephone-based program that helps smokers quit smoking. It provides self-help materials and telephone counseling in six different languages: English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, and Vietnamese. The California Smokers' Helpline was inspired by an earlier study that showed smokers were much more likely to utilize a telephone-based program than a face-to-face program. The Helpline was designed to:

  • Increase the chance that smokers will make serious attempts to quit
  • Reduce the probability of relapse after a quit attempt
  • Serve as an resource for physician advice or school-based programs

After smokers initiate their first call to the Helpline, all subsequent counseling sessions are delivered proactively (i.e., Helpline counselors call the smokers at agreed-upon times). There is one comprehensive pre-quit session, and up to five followup sessions. The followup calls are scheduled in reference to the quit date and according to a typical relapse curve, with more sessions scheduled in the earlier stages of quitting than in later stages. The counseling sessions typically occur over a 2-month period. The Helpline has developed specialized counseling protocols for adult, adolescent, and pregnant smokers. Several randomized trials have demonstrated that Helpline counseling doubles a smoker's chance of long-term quitting success when compared to self-help materials.

Program Development Support

The Tobacco Control Section of California Department of Health Services has provided the primary support for the Helpline's work, starting from the first efficacy trial. The Helpline has also received grants from National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the University of California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program; and the California Children and Family Commission.

Contact Information

For indepth information on this program, please use the contact listed below.

Program Developer

Shu-Hong Zhu
Department of Family and Preventive Medicine
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0905
La Jolla, CA 92093-0905
Phone: (858) 300-1056
Fax: (858) 300-1099

In June 2003, this program was designated as an Effective Program under SAMHSA's previous National Registry of Effective Prevention Programs system.