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Vermont Department of Health - Asthma Program

# of smokers with asthma who use the quit line

Current Value


Dec 2022


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Story Behind the Curve

                                                                                                                    Last updated: February 2023

Author: Asthma Program, Vermont Department of Health

The trend line well illustrates an annual bump that usually occurs as a result of New Year's resolutions among Vermonters and renewed efforts to stop smoking.  In early spring, the Tobacco Program conducts marketing campaigns in the spring that stimulate an increase in registrants.  The Asthma Program regularly works to support and/or complement these efforts by investing its own resources into advertising campaigns and referrals.  The sharp increase around New Years 2019 continues this pattern. The winter campaign, which ran from January 1 through February 28, likely resulting in the increase through March 2019. In the fall/winter of 2015 and the spring of 2016, the Asthma Program invested in two online advertising campaigns intended to generate even higher bumps in the number of smokers who call the quit line. As seen in the data, it looks as though this was a success. On, the asthma campaign generated 7,100 unique page visits and 60% more new visitors. The average time on the page was over 1 minute. The dip in 2020 likely coincides with widespread closures and Covid response efforts.

When a person inhales tobacco smoke, irritating substances settle in the moist lining of the airways. These substances can cause an attack in a person who has asthma.

In addition, tobacco smoke damages tiny hair-like structures in the airways called cilia. Normally, cilia sweep dust and mucus out of the airways. Tobacco smoke damages cilia so they are unable to work, allowing dust and mucus to accumulate in the airways.

Smoke also causes the lungs to make more mucus than normal. As a result, even more mucus can build up in the airways, triggering an attack.


  • Blueprint for Health - partners with the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) programs including the tobacco program on delivering community-based cessation; Quit Partners offer group counseling, nicotine replacement therapy and peer support.
  • Rutland Regional Medical Center - partners with both the Asthma and Tobacco Programs including providing group cessation and making referrals to the Quitline and Quit Online.
  • Department of Vermont Health Access - partners with the Vermont Tobacco and Asthma Programs on improving and promoting Medicaid’s benefits and VDH resources to help Medicaid beneficiaries quit and improve their asthma control.
  • Vermont Department of Health Office of Local Health - a partner that works with the Vermont Asthma Program to disseminate Asthma Action Plans and reach local communities with resources including 802Quits.
  • Northeast American Lung Association - a partner that works with the Vermont Asthma Program on supplying education materials to asthma educators within the state and advocating for strong tobacco control and prevention
  • 802Quits - a partner that works with the Vermont Asthma Program to reduce the higher than state average prevalence seen among those with asthma.
  • HARK is a partner that works with Vermont Asthma Program to create a digital media plan with the goal of increasing awareness of secondhand smoke exposures, increasing referrals to 802Quits, promoting importance of flu shots and asthma action plans, and reducing exposures to asthma triggers.

What Works

Reducing exposure to secondhand smoke among those who are nonsmokers involves several strategies including passing state smoke free laws and local ordinances, creating smoke free and tobacco free campuses at hospitals/worksites/colleges, and linking smokers with quit supports (802Quits).

Action Plan

The Vermont Asthma Program works with all its partners to increase the awareness of asthma triggers, including tobacco and secondhand smoke. Recognizing, avoiding and eliminating asthma triggers is part all self-management programs and education. The Vermont Tobacco and Asthma Programs works statewide with the purpose of assisting those populations that have the highest risk and prevalence.

  • Quarterly meetings: The Vermont Tobacco and Asthma programs will disseminate information about 802Quits in the quarterly asthma newsletter (currently under redevelopment).  This newsletter will be targeted to providers and partner networks to disseminate and educate on the importance of creating smoke and tobacco free spaces, leverage relationships, and promote linking to cessation support. The Asthma and Tobacco programs are highly connected and so there is a lot of cross pollination and resource sharing between the two programs.
  • Media Campaigns, the Website and other digital resources: The Program will also work with HMC to target smokers with asthma to use 802Quits.

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