Uninsured smokers who want to kick the habit often worry about the cost of nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, or they need help finding the other local resources.

On Thursday, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control announced that free nicotine replacement therapy for uninsured smokers is now available through the agency's tobacco quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

And whether you have insurance or not, all South Carolinians who call the quitline are guaranteed at least one free session with a trained quit coach and a referral to local resources. Many callers are eligible for up to five free sessions with a quit coach, and pregnant tobacco users can get up to 10 free sessions. Free nicotine replacement therapy, such as gum, lozenges or patches, is available for callers who do not have health insurance.

The quitline is open from 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily.

An estimated 759,000 South Carolinians smoke cigarettes. For every dollar spent on DHEC's smoking cessation programs, South Carolina saves an estimated $5.44 in medical expenses, lost productivity and other costs.

For more information, visit http://www.scdhec.gov/quitforkeeps.