Cigarette smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, and heavy use of alcohol and drugs are growing causes of early death and disability in most countries. There are programs available to help people change these behaviors, but it has been an ongoing challenge to get these programs to those who would benefit from them. Telephone helplines and individual counseling programs delivered by telephone are key strategies for reaching large numbers of people. In smoking cessation, for example, statewide hotlines provide support for quitting and offer referrals to community-based programs. Many smoking cessation programs are delivered by telephone rather than by having people attend group sessions. The availability of these resources can be easily advertised through the mass media, making it more likely that people will know about them and take advantage of them.
Lichtenstein, E.; Glasgow, R. E.; Lando, H. A.; Ossip-Klein, D. J.; and Boles, S. M. (1996). "Telephone Counseling for Smoking Cessation: Rationales and Meta-Analytic Review of Evidence." Health Education and Research 11:243–257.