Fewer Americans would smoke if cessation treatments were covered: CDC

March 27, 2014
Fewer americans would smoke if cessation treatments were covered: CDC
Counseling and medication services aren't all included, and barriers to access exist, study shows.

(HealthDay)—More Americans would quit smoking if coverage for every type of smoking-cessation treatment was provided by all state Medicaid programs, and if states removed barriers to coverage, according to a federal government study.

Although states are making progress, few of them provide Medicaid for all treatments to help people kick the habit, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC researchers said Medicaid enrollees are more likely to smoke than people in the general population, and smoking-related diseases are a major factor in rising Medicaid costs.

Currently, seven states cover all approved smoking-cessation medications and counseling for all Medicaid recipients. Barriers to getting these treatments exist in all states, with the most common being limits on how long treatment is covered, how much is covered per year, prior authorization requirements and co-payments, the researchers said.

They found that between 2008 and 2014, 41 states made changes to the smoking-cessation treatments they covered for at least some plans or groups of people. Nineteen states added treatments to coverage without removing any from coverage. Meanwhile, eight states removed treatments from coverage without adding any new treatments. Fourteen states both added and removed coverage.

Over that period, 38 states changed barriers to getting smoking-cessation treatment for at least some plans or groups of people. Nine states removed barriers without adding any, 12 states added barriers without removing any and 17 states both removed and added barriers.

The study appears in the March 27 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which is published by the CDC.

"States can save lives and reduce costs by providing Medicaid coverage for all proven cessation treatments, removing barriers to accessing these treatments and promoting the expanded coverage," Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, said in an agency news release.

"Reducing the number of smokers will save lives and reduce costs," he said.

And many people are interested in quitting, a study researcher said.

"There's evidence suggesting that smokers enrolled in Medicaid, like other smokers, want to quit and will take advantage of covered cessation treatments to help them quit for good," study co-author Stephen Babb said in the news release.

Babb pointed to Massachusetts, which expanded its Medicaid coverage of smoking-cessation treatments in 2006.

"Massachusetts heavily promoted its new Medicaid cessation coverage to Medicaid enrollees and health care providers, and saw a drop in the smoking rate among Medicaid enrollees from 38 percent to 28 percent," Babb said.

"There was also an almost 50 percent drop in hospital admissions for heart attacks among those who used the benefit," he said. "It is important that all smokers who want help quitting—including smokers enrolled in Medicaid—have access to proven cessation treatments and services."

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and kills nearly half a million Americans a year. More than 16 million Americans have smoking-related diseases, which cost $132 billion a year in direct health care expenses, according to the CDC.

Explore further: Better benefits help Medicaid recipients quit smoking

More information: The American Cancer Society offers a guide to quitting smoking.

Related Stories

Better benefits help Medicaid recipients quit smoking

March 7, 2014
People on Medicaid in the U.S. are 68 percent more likely to smoke than the general population. New research in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests that expanded smoking cessation benefits offered under the ...

U.S. quit-smoking policies need improving, experts say

December 3, 2012
(HealthDay)—U.S. federal and state policies are at a "tipping point" in terms of winning the war against smoking, according to an American Lung Association report.

Federal data show health disparities among states

December 12, 2013
The slow rollout of a new federal health insurance marketplace may be deepening differences in health coverage among Americans.

The new face of Medicaid: Incoming enrollees may be younger; more white men, smokers, drinkers

September 9, 2013
States that choose to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to millions of uninsured adults may see an increase in younger people and white men qualify for the coverage, a new University of Michigan study says. Potential ...

Medicaid expansion may help prevent kidney failure, improve access to kidney-related care

March 20, 2014
States with broader Medicaid coverage have lower incidences of kidney failure and smaller insurance-related gaps in access to kidney disease care. Those are the findings of a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal ...

E-cigarette use not linked to quitting smoking, study finds

March 24, 2014
People who use electronic cigarettes do not report higher rates of quitting than regular cigarette smokers, according to a US study out Monday.

Recommended for you

Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life

July 24, 2017
A new study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

Alcohol to claim 63,000 lives over next five years, experts warn

July 24, 2017
Alcohol consumption will cause 63,000 deaths in England over the next five years – the equivalent of 35 deaths a day – according to a new report from the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.

App lets patients work alone or with others to prevent, monitor, and reverse chronic disease

July 24, 2017
Lack of patient adherence to treatment plans is a lingering, costly problem in the United States. But MIT Media Lab spinout Twine Health is proving that regular interventions from a patient's community of supporters can greatly ...

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

July 24, 2017
Drinking alcohol improves memory for information learned before the drinking episode began, new research suggests.

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

High-fat diet in pregnancy can cause mental health problems in offspring

July 21, 2017
A high-fat diet not only creates health problems for expectant mothers, but new research in an animal model suggests it alters the development of the brain and endocrine system of their offspring and has a long-term impact ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

The Shootist
not rated yet Mar 27, 2014
Few enough smoke now. Let freedom ring.
1 / 5 (1) Mar 27, 2014
Fewer Americans would smoke cigarettes if the congress simply banned them, instead of subsidizing this generation of smokers' medical bills by taxing the next generation of smokers...

It's immoral.

See, the way the U.S. government thinks is this:

1, Instead of banning negative behavior, we'll just tax it to subsidize medical bills.
2, Without a ban, a new generation of users is born, and they too have all the diseases and associated problems.
3, Goto number 1.

Correct solution:

1, Ban smoking (for example)
2, Most people lose access to cigarettes.
3, Most people quit.
4, Amount of disease decreases.
5, Prior tax monies are no longer needed to subsidize treatment of those diseases.
6, Everyone is healthier and breathes cleaner air!
not rated yet Mar 28, 2014
Fewer Americans would smoke cigarettes if the congress simply banned them, . . .

Has this ever been tried before? The government trying to ban some popularly consumed substance nevertheless seen to have deleterious health effects? How well did that work out?
1 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2014
Has this ever been tried before? The government trying to ban some popularly consumed substance nevertheless seen to have deleterious health effects? How well did that work out?

Pretty well considering only a few percent regularly use those banned substances, compared to cigarettes.

There's also another article on here in the past few days which shows that premature births in the U.S. have already dropped 10% since public smoking was banned.

40 million Americans smoke cigarettes REGULARLY.

10 million Americans smoke marijuana about 6 times per year, and about 26 million smoked marijuana 1 or more times within the past year.

Clearly, banning harmful drugs causes a very, very significant reduction in the scope of use and the amount of use of the substance per person.

Marijuana promoters point to medical benefits, fine, let it be grown by people who did not break the law when it was illegal, such as pharmaceutical companies, instead of former criminals.
1 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2014
But anyway, they point to a few specialized medical benefits as an excuse for what amounts to full, public use of Marijuana.

Regardless of what they'll claim, Marijuana produces some toxins which as I was taught anyway, require as much as 30 days to clear from the brain. One joint.

Now think about that public smoking ban. If that "public ban" produced an approximately 10% decline in premature births, not to mention other benefits, then imagine what the benefits would be if a full ban was implemented, and the prevalence of tobacco smoking reduced even to current Marijuana levels?

The health benefits would surely be as big or bigger again on top of the 10% decline in premature births.

Do you realize that science PROVES second hand smoke is poisonous and is a violate of people's right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness?

It proves cigarette smoking is child abuse, both directly and indirectly.

It's a sad state of affairs because there are so many addicts.
1 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2014
Instead of banning the stuff, what does the government do?

Ah, just restrict advertisement some and promote a few anti-smoking ads...but cigarettes are still one of the biggest cash items in every convenience store and grocery store, right at the counter, where every teen can see them.

All of those young people are addicted to this stuff, which should have been banned in the 1960's before I was even born, and now their children too run the risk of being affected by this.

This goes beyond immoral or even unethical. It's a crime against humanity.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.