Is Nevada Doing Enough to Help Smokers Quit?

A new report from the American Lung Association called Helping Smokers Quit: State Cessation Coverage has good news and bad news in the battle to help smokers quit:  while millions of Americans will now get the help they need to quit smoking thanks to the new healthcare law, millions of other smokers won’t.  That’s why we need your help in telling Nevada state officials to close the gap so everyone gets help quitting. 

People enrolled in Medicaid are especially at risk for not getting the help they need.  Smokers enrolled in Medicaid smoke at a rate 60 percent greater than the general population.  They are the least likely to be able to afford the sometimes expensive treatments and because Medicaid is taxpayer-funded, we all benefit from the lower health care costs of former smokers on Medicaid.

The good news is Nevada can now take the next step so that our smokers get help quitting.  All smokers need easy access to a comprehensive cessation benefit, which includes all FDA-approved medications and three different types of counseling. 

In Nevada, our Medicaid program does not universally cover counseling.  For state employees, our state imposes a dollar limit on cessation treatments.   In addition, unlike other states private insurance companies are not required to provide cessation benefits.  It is up to our state officials to make sure everyone in our state has the help they need to quit, so we can save lives and money.

And there’s more good news - states can help smokers without breaking the bank.  In September we told you about a study the American Lung Association released showing that helping smokers quit will save states money.  The study showed that for every dollar Nevada spends on helping smokers quit, we will save an average of $1.31.  Click here to find out exactly how much Nevada would save, and to see how much smoking costs our state. 

Despite the huge potential savings in lives and money, we aren’t doing enough to help smokers quit.  Click here to see what Nevada and other states are doing.

Please tell your state officials that helping smokers quit is a priority for you by sending them an email.

 

 

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