Updated U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Will Mean More Smokers Get Help Quitting
(September 21, 2015) - Chicago, IL
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The American Lung Association applauds the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) for updating the tobacco cessation recommendation. The update emphasizes that a comprehensive quit smoking benefit – all seven U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications and all three forms of counseling – is one of the most effective preventive services at improving health outcomes. The Affordable Care Act requires all preventive services given an “A” by USPSTF to be covered at no cost through most health insurance plans. The USPSTF once again gave tobacco cessation an “A” grade for its overall efficacy, and clarified the importance of both counseling and approved pharmacotherapies.
“The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force ’A‘ grade affirms that quitting smoking is one of the most effective things someone can do to improve their health and prevent illness and disease,” said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Quitting smoking is very difficult, and healthcare providers must be able to give their patients every tool proven to help them quit.”
These final recommendations also include the USPSTF’s careful review of the scientific evidence around electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), commonly known as e-cigarettes. USPSTF determined that there is insufficient information on whether ENDS are “more helpful or harmful” for helping smokers quit. Instead, USPSTF urged clinicians to direct their patients who smoke to cessation interventions that have been proven safe and effective.
“The American Lung Association agrees with the Task Force’s recommendations that clinicians should only be recommending FDA-approved smoking cessation interventions to their patients,” said Wimmer. “E-cigarettes are an unregulated tobacco product and no e-cigarette has been found by FDA to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit.”
In June, the American Lung Association and its partners filed detailed comments with USPSTF, urging that the USPSTF clarify that a comprehensive benefit must include access to all three forms of counseling and all FDA-approved medications.
In 2014, the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that 480,000 Americans die each year from tobacco-caused death and disease. Another 16 million are living with a tobacco-caused disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and diabetes. However, more than 51 million Americans have successfully quit smoking and former smokers now outnumber current smokers in the U.S.
For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, tobacco use and tobacco policies, contact the American Lung Association at Media@Lung.org or 312-801-7628.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.