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ALA: Pennsylvania should reform smoking cessation coverage

Posted On Mon, February 15, 2010

The State of Pennsylvania is severely lacking in its smoking cessation health insurance coverage and in funding of tobacco control programs, according to the State of Tobacco Control 2009 report released by the American Lung Association on Monday.

The report found that the 2.2 million smokers in Pennsylvania had "significant barriers" in their way that made it increasingly hard to kick the habit. Noting that the state government and many public and private insurance plans throughout the state currently denied comprehensive smoking cessation coverage, the survey said that the state was not adequately living up to recommendations that had been made by the Centers for Disease Control.

"With the public smoking ban and cigarette taxes in place, the lack of cessation coverage for state employees sends a contradictory message on the Commonwealth's commitment to a healthier, truly smoke-free Pennsylvania,

As for why the state should consider increasing its cessation program coverage, the study referenced Massachussetts, which has a Medicaid program that covers programs to help residents quit smoking.

In the first two years it was active, smoking rates among lower population segments dropped by 26 percent along with similar declines in health care costs, heart attacks, and birth complications

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