New Report Reveals Most States Are Not Quit-Friendly for Smokers

Sacramento, CA (December 7, 2011)

Most states, including California, are falling far short of providing the help that millions need to quit smoking, according to the American Lung Association’s “Helping Smokers Quit: Tobacco Cessation Coverage 2011” report.  It calls on federal and state policymakers to make quit-smoking services an urgent priority to help citizens live longer and more productive lives. 

For the first time since launching the annual report in 2008, the Lung Association identifies the five most quit-friendly and the five least quit-friendly states based on the coverage of quit smoking programs and treatments available in each state. The five most quit-friendly states are Maine, North Dakota, Delaware, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.  The five least quit-friendly states are Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Maryland, and New Jersey.

“We congratulate the federal government and the few states that are making important progress in this life-and-death effort,” said Jane Warner, President and CEO, American Lung Association in California “California joins the majority of states that are failing to do enough to help smokers quit.  Even the most quit-friendly states still have more work to do, and we encourage policymakers at all levels to provide access to quit smoking treatments and services that will save lives and curb health costs.”

Despite greater public understanding about the health risks of smoking, 443,000 people still die each year from tobacco-related illnesses and secondhand smoke exposure.  Quitting smoking is difficult, and most smokers need help to quit for good.

The Lung Association urges every state to provide all Medicaid recipients and state employees with comprehensive, easily accessible tobacco cessation medications and counseling.  A comprehensive benefit includes all seven medications and three types of counseling recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service for helping smokers quit.

“By not providing all smokers help to quit, the U.S. is missing out on longer, happier, more productive lives and economic improvements,” said Warner. “California cannot afford the economic and health consequences of failing to make it a priority to help smokers quit.”

“Helping Smokers Quit: Tobacco Cessation Coverage 2011” is available here.