Region Earns Mixed Grades In American Lung Association Tobacco Cessation Report

(December 3, 2012)

SAINT PAUL, MINN. — The United States is at a tipping point when it comes to policies that help smokers quit, according to the American Lung Association’s “Helping Smokers Quit: Tobacco Cessation Coverage 2012” report.  The annual report provides a comprehensive review of each state’s tobacco cessation coverage and an up-to-date look at federal coverage and requirements under the Affordable Care Act. 

In the upper Midwest, Minnesota scored well on covering tobacco cessation for state employees while North Dakota and Illinois scored higher, as the only states in the region to offer comprehensive coverage to state employees.  North Dakota and South Dakota were among the states praised in the report for providing new Medicaid counseling benefits for pregnant women in 2012. South Dakota was also cited as one of two states (Maine was the other) to fund its tobacco “quitline” service at levels recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Over the next year key decisions will be made by the federal government and the states about whether or not they will help save lives, prevent disease and reduce health costs,” said Paul G. Billings, senior vice president for advocacy and education at the American Lung Association.  “We know that the vast majority of smokers want to quit, but the complex web of state and federal coverage for effective quit smoking programs and treatments prevents too many from getting the help they need. States and the federal government can reduce the enormous health burden of tobacco use by providing access to these proven interventions.”

A link to the complete report can be found here.