FARMINGTON — A new online support system for those attempting to quit tobacco was unveiled this week. 

The QuitLink is now online at http://thequitlink.org/ and provides new resources and support for those trying to quit.

A media campaign highlighting real-life tobacco uses began this week. The online program was developed by The Partnership For A Tobacco-Free Maine, in partnership with the Healthy Community Coalition.

Locally HCC’s role is to promote the new resource, said Nicole Ditata, district tobacco coordinator for HCC. QuitLink information will be available at local physician’s offices and on the Mobile Health Van.

“We know that 70 percent of smokers have expressed the desire to quit smoking. In Maine, that means more than 100,000 people,” she said in a statement. “The purpose of the QuitLink is to provide people with a place to turn, a support network that is designed to improve quitting success.”

On the website, former smokers share their stories, she said Thursday. Several from the local area have already posted their stories while remaining anonymous, sharing just their first name and the town they are from.

The QuitLink also provides for live comments from people trying to quit through Facebook and Twitter.

There is also a link to the Maine Tobacco HelpLine at 1-800-207-1230 where people can call to leave a name and number and someone will call them back to talk with them and provide support. People can also receive the patch or gum to help them quit for free, she said.

Although the website was set up a few years ago when the state received tobacco funding, the new QuitLink is another method to provide information and support for those quitting.

“We’re keeping up with technology. That’s the way people communicate these days so we have to use all sorts of ways to help,” she said.

The desire to quit and the success for those who do happens in groups, whether it is family, friends, co-workers or online communities. By creating a virtual support network, QuitLink seeks to take advantage of that principle and the relationships of the tobacco user.

Another interesting portion of the site includes a tracker or calculator whereby a smoker can figure the cost per day, week, year and how it adds up over time, she said.  It can be a motivator for stopping when people realize the amount they spend compared to the cost for other things they want.

The program is sponsored by HCC, the local region’s Healthy Maine Partnership. For  more information, call Ditata at 779-2932.

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