Groups join forces to urge end of tobacco use

July 7, 2005
The Principal Financial Group, American Cancer Society will offer a dedicated phone line to help individuals refrain from tobacco use.

The Principal Financial Group and the American Cancer Society have teamed up to offer a dedicated phone line to help health plan members of The Principal and Molloy Wellness Company health screening participants stop tobacco use for good.

By calling the American Cancer Society's Quitline, participants double their chances of quitting successfully, even if they've tried to quit in the past. The Principal is the first national insurance carrier ever to offer the American Cancer Society's Quitline to all their plan members.

"Stopping tobacco use is difficult, but it is easier with professional help. Every day you go without a cigarette or smokeless tobacco can have an astonishing impact on your health," noted Dr. Ray Webster, chief medical director for the Principal Financial Group. "For instance, within 30 days of quitting cigarettes, your lung and heart capacity will improve. You'll have more energy and stamina to do the things you may have found difficult for years. What's more, your risk of chronic illness drops daily after you quit."

"Most tobacco users have tried to quit in the past, but feel like they lacked the willpower. However, it's not willpower that leads to success. It's knowing what works and what doesn't work for you, and planning a strategy that meets your unique needs," said Doug Smith, account manager at the American Cancer Society.

"That's what the American Cancer Society can do - help individuals develop the best plan to help them quit for good," he added. "In fact, people who have tried to quit in the past but were unsuccessful are more likely to quit using the American Cancer Society program. We'll help people learn from their past attempts and to avoid those pitfalls that lead to relapse."

Calling the Quitline
By calling the Quitline and providing their account number from The Principal or promotional code from Molloy Wellness, members can:

* talk to a trained cessation counselor.
* receive materials that help prepare to quit using tobacco.
* learn about local programs.
* find out more about medications that can assist in members' success.

Telephone counselors may recommend a combination of methods for cessation, including telephone counseling, medication, participation in local classes or support groups, self-help literature and/or utilizing a network of family and friends.

The Quitline is part of The Principal HealthyConnections Program - a series of tools, resources and assistance to encourage a healthy lifestyle for members. The program makes health topics interesting, and encourages members to be more engaged so they can make better decisions about their health and health care.

"Lowering health care costs in the United States is going to take engagement and action on everyone's part. Reducing risks, being active and involved in health-related issues and decisions are all part of it," said Dr. Webster. "Tobacco use contributes to a myriad of health issues, both for the user and their loved ones. Children who grow up in homes with parents who use tobacco on a regular basis are far more likely to become users of tobacco themselves. Our goal in offering this program to our members is to help them get healthy, and stay healthy, by quitting tobacco use for good."

For more information about Principal HealthyConnections, visit

Annual Results of Nation's Tobacco Use
Each year, according to the U.S. Surgeon General, tobacco use accounts for an estimated 440,000 premature deaths related to smoking, 38,000 deaths in nonsmokers as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke, and $157.7 billion in health-related economic losses. Thirty percent of cancer deaths, including 87 percent of lung cancer deaths, can be attributed to tobacco.