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Blue Cross' Stop-Smoking Program Achieves All-Time High Quit Rate
Date:4/3/2008

Success due to implementation of best practices in stop smoking strategies

EAGAN, Minn., April 3, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) reports it achieved an all-time high, 12-month stop smoking rate of 35.5 percent in 2007; meaning at least one in three members who enrolled in Blue Cross' stop smoking program -- 1,714 individuals -- was still not smoking 12 months after starting the program. The new quit rate represents a twenty-one percent increase (six percentage points) over the 2006 rate of 29.3 percent. The 35.5 percent quit rate is also more than seven times higher than the overall national quit rate of less than 4.7 percent. The national quit rate includes all smokers who quit by any means in a year, including program participation, medications, or with no assistance.

Blue Cross' stop-smoking program consistently yields meaningful results both for program participants and their employers. "The success of this program comes from significant improvements we've made and from the Freedom to Breathe Act," said Dr. Marc Manley, vice president and medical director for population health at Blue Cross. "Now that smoking isn't allowed in restaurants and bars, it's a little easier for smokers to quit."

In May 2007 Blue Cross rolled-out its enhanced stop-smoking program where, in addition to the phone and web-based coaching, employers cover the cost of quit medications for their employees and their dependents who are 18 or older. The best opportunity for success is achieved when the comprehensive approach of tailored coaching linked to no-cost quit medications (for example the nicotine patch, gum, and lozenge) is combined with supportive environments in the community, at home and at the workplace. Blue Cross also offers workplace health improvement planning support to employers who wish to implement a tobacco-free worksite policy covering buildings and grounds.

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SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
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