Maine health officials are expecting a surge in people trying to quit smoking over the next month.

New Year’s Day begins the busiest time of the year for the Maine Tobacco HelpLine. Its telephone treatment specialists expect call volume may double in January compared to an average month.

The helpline has one of the highest call volumes in the nation – about 8,000 callers per year. Since quitting smoking is always one of the top New Year’s resolutions, the helpline is ready for an increase in calls.

The HelpLine’s toll-free number is 1-800-207-1230.

Anyone who has tried to quit smoking knows it is a tough battle and it does not always happen on the first try.

For every smoker who successfully quits each year, thousands more make attempts but do not succeed.

It takes most people a number of attempts before they quit for good. In fact, it takes the typical smoker closer to eight attempts, according to David Spaulding, the program manager for the helpline.

Odds are more stacked against people if they do not seek help and support. The helpline has been proven to work for thousands of people across the state. Whether someone has been using tobacco for decades or several years, the chance for success rise dramatically with assistance from the helpline.

Personal coaching through the helpline has been proven to be three times more effective than an attempt to quit without support. In addition to coaching, it provides a variety of services to help people kick the habit, including nicotine replacement medication for qualifying individuals. On average, 30-40 percent of the people who take advantage of the HelpLine’s full program of counseling and medications will be successful.

About 90 percent of the callers are tobacco users; advice and coaching are also available for people who want to help a friend or family member quit. Services are free and confidential.

The Maine Tobacco HelpLine is administered by the Partnership For A Tobacco-Free Maine, Maine CDC, Department of Health and Human Services.