Tobacco Cessation, a Sound Investment

Published on December 3rd, 2009 13:06
health life

Massachusett - Only quitting smoking, smokers can improve their health. That’s why anti-tobacco researchers proposed smoking cessations programs to smokers who could not quit. For example, tobacco cessation benefit was proposed to Massachusetts’ Medicaid participants that has produced an amazing 26% fall in smoking rates in only two and a half years, and has already been linked to decreases in heart attacks, hospitalizations for asthma and COPD, and a significant decrease in birth difficulties.

At the end of the investigation, researchers from the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program (MTCP) found that up to 38% fewer Mass Health cessation benefit users were hospitalized for heart attacks in the first year after using the benefit, and that 18% fewer benefit user visited the reserve room for asthma symptoms in the first year after using the benefit. Researchers also found that there were 12% fewer claims for adverse maternal birth complications since the benefit was executed.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services said that more than 75,000 people have used the benefit to try to quit the bad habit. Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Judy-Ann Bigby said: “It is clear from these latest findings that the Commonwealth’s efforts to help people quit smoking are a sound investment. I have requested that a full analysis of the cost savings reach my desk by June 30, 2010.”

The head of Partnership for Prevention, the disease prevention support organization in Washington, D.C., that arranged the national effort, said that the Massachusetts experience makes a strong case for expanding cessation benefits.

Robert J. Gould, PhD, President and CEO of Partnership for Prevention, explained: “As the nation debates the future of its health care system, the national significance of this research cannot be understated. These findings demonstrate that reasonable investments in preventive health today will have a dramatic and positive effect on our health care system tomorrow.”

MTCP promoted the new benefit through radio and transit ads and extensive community outreach. The benefit was introduced into an environment that encourages quitting smoking: Massachusetts has smoke-free workplaces, high cigarette taxes, and a non-smoking social norm, all of which contribute to smokers wanting to quit. All these measures will decrease the smoking among Americans. For example, in Massachusetts, 77% of adult cigarette smokers want to quit, 60% of smokers have tried to quit within the past year, and 44% report that they plan to quit in the next 30 days.

Statistics show that more than 8,000 Massachusetts residents die annually from the effects of smoking, and tobacco use is associated with $4.3 billion in excess health care costs in Massachusetts each year. The scientists concluded that the significance of this research demonstrates how important it is to provide complete tobacco cessation services to smokers and to make sure they know about them.

By Joanna Johnson, Staff Writer Copyright © 2010 TobaccoPub. All rights reserved.

Related tags: smoking rate | tobacco cessation | anti-tobacco researcher | smoker | cigarette tax | smoke-free work place

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