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Helping Smokers Quit: State Cessation Coverage 2010

February 24, 2011 Comments off

Helping Smokers Quit: State Cessation Coverage 2010 (PDF)
Source: American Lung Association

Every year 443,000 people die from tobacco-related illnesses and secondhand smoke exposure. Children lose parents, spouses lose partners, and friends lose loved ones. There is also an economic element: employers lose employees, states lose taxpayers and productive citizens, and everyone pays higher health care costs.

Even more tragically, these losses are preventable. Kids can be prevented from starting to smoke, and current smokers can quit. Unfortunately, the U.S. has done very little to help smokers quit their powerful addiction to nicotine. Although most smokers want to quit, they often struggle and sometimes fail to quit for good. One of the reasons many smokers fail to quit is a lack of access to proven and effective treatments.

The American Lung Association believes that with the passage of health care reform, there is a historic opportunity to ensure that all smokers have access to treatments that can help them quit. State policymakers must take action to extend cessation coverage benefits even further as they implement provisions from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Demand for assistance in quitting is also likely to increase, as more smokers are faced with an increasing number of smokefree laws and higher tobacco prices. Giving all smokers access to a comprehensive cessation benefit now is the right thing to do, and it is also the smart thing to do.

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