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NAQC Newsroom: NAQC News

1-800-QUIT-NOW Meetings and NCI Reports

Tuesday, January 22, 2013  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov

Late in 2012, NAQC responded to member questions about potential discrepancies between the number of call attempts reported by NCI on the monthly 1-800-QUIT-NOW reports and the number of calls received by state quitline service providers by convening calls between several quitline service providers, CDC, and NCI. The purpose of these calls was to get to a point where everyone understood what the NCI numbers were reporting, and how those numbers corresponded to numbers reported by state quitline service providers. This e-bulletin contains a summary of those conversations, clarifications of what the NCI numbers mean, potential sources of discrepancies between state reports and NCI reports, and where to go for more information.


- The NCI monthly 1-800-QUIT-NOW reports include all call attempts to 1-800-QUIT-NOW, regardless of how long the call attempt lasted. This includes very short calls (6 seconds or less). The NCI telephony system supports routing calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW to the corresponding state-based quitline based on the callers’ area code. Because the telephony system simply routes the calls, the 1-800-QUIT-NOW reports do not include any information about what happened to those calls, whether the caller hung up, whether they got a busy signal, whether they went to voice mail, whether they got to a main menu and made an initial selection, or whether they spoke to a live person.

- Some states reported receiving FEWER calls than NCI was reporting. This was due to two possible causes:

1. State quitline service providers were reporting a number other than the total number of calls that came into the quitline from 1-800-QUIT-NOW. For example, some quitlines received reports about the number of calls through 1-800-QUIT-NOW where the caller got to the main menu and made an initial selection. Once definitions were clearly sorted out, service providers could identify every call that came through the 1-800-QUIT-NOW portal as reported by NCI.

2. Depending on the setup for each state quitline, the process of routing a call that comes in to 1-800-QUIT-NOW to the termination number for the state quitline can take up to six seconds. For some states, any call to 1-800-QUIT-NOW lasting less than six seconds might not be recorded as having been received by the state’s termination number. Some states saw an increase in very short duration calls during the TIPS I campaign, possibly due to curious callers wanting to know if the number on the screen was a real number. Most of the discrepancies between the number of calls reported by NCI and the number of calls recorded as having been received by service providers were related to very short duration calls.

- Some states reported receiving MORE calls from 1-800-QUIT-NOW than NCI was reporting. This was due to two possible causes:

1. Callers may have seen the termination number on their caller ID, and called that number directly, rather than going through 1-800-QUIT-NOW or through their state’s other advertised number. Such calls going directly to the termination number would not be counted by NCI as having gone through the 1-800-QUIT-NOW portal.

2. The "take back and transfer” process bypasses 1-800-QUIT-NOW and transfers a caller who reaches state quitline A in error to state quitline B’s termination number. In such a case, the call would have been recorded by NCI as having gone to state A, recorded as having been received by state A, AND would have been recorded as having been received by state B. However, NCI would NOT have recorded the call as having been sent to state B, thus resulting in state B reporting MORE calls than NCI.


Bob Zablocki, Telecommunications Specialist at NCI, has offered to meet with any state quitline that has questions about the 1-800-QUIT-NOW reports, and how they relate to the state’s own call reports. To arrange for a meeting, please contact Jessie Saul, NAQC’s Director of Research, at

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