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N.C. aims to triple number of nonsmokers

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In an effort to triple the number of workers who quit smoking, the North Carolina state employees’ health plan has added telephone coaching and free nicotine patches to its list of benefits.

The benefit, available to more than 661,000 state employees, reflects a recommendation by a state task force that urged employers to support workers who want to quit smoking by reducing their out-of-pocket costs for nicotine-replacement therapy.

State employees can call a toll-free number to reach a “quit coach” and order eight weeks’ worth of patches.

State Health Director Jeff Engel said the coaching and patches triple a smoker’s chance of quitting, compared with going it alone.

Contact: Linda McCrudden, North Carolina State Health Plan, at (919) 881-2300.

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