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Helping Smokers Quit

 

Helping Smokers Quit is an annual report by the American Lung Association on cessation efforts by the federal government and by the states.  The 2012 report was just released and found that while there are some very positive highlights, we still have much more to do.

When asked, most smokers want to quit.  Knowing the immense health burden of tobacco use and the proven cessation methods, the report highlights how states can improve.

State Highlights:

  • Only two states offered full cessation benefits to Medicaid enrollees:  Indiana and Massachusetts
  • Alabama and Georgia offered No cessation coverage for their Medicaid recipients.
  • Four states provided comprehensive cessation coverage for all state employees:  Illinois, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Rhode Island.
  • Four states added new cessation benefits in 2012 state employees:  Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, and New Jersey.
  • Nine states require private insurance plans to cover tobacco cessation treatments:  Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
  • Two states invest in quitlines at or above the recommended amount:  Maine and South Dakota.

 

Since Ohio didn't make any of the above lists, what's our status?

  • We are close to comprehensive coverage for our Medicaid population.  The state needs to add counseling options and remove co-pay requirements.
  • The coverage for state employees fell into the inadequate category.  Expansion to cover all medications and additional counseling options would improve coverage for employees and cessation outcomes.
  • Ohio also needs to address shortfalls with the quitline.  The state does not currently meet any of the Center for Disease Control best practice recommendations.
  • And, of course, we also know that Ohio is ranked 50th in state funding of comprehensive tobacco programs.  While not part of the American Lung Association's cessation report, we know that a comprehensive program helps prevent Ohioans from starting to use tobacco.

To read more on the report and best practices, visit the American Lung Association's website.

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