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Massachusetts' 'Model' Tobacco Cessation Benefit Spurs Unprecedented Drop in Smoking Rates, Heart Attacks, Asthma, and Birth Complications
Date:11/18/2009

BOSTON, Nov. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A "model" tobacco cessation benefit offered to Massachusetts' Medicaid participants has produced an astounding 26% drop 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 complications.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program (MTCP) found that up to 38% fewer MassHealth cessation benefit users were hospitalized for heart attacks in the first year after using the benefit, and that 18% fewer benefit users visited the emergency 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 implemented.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services said more than 75,000 people -- a full 40% of MassHealth members who smoke -- have used the benefit to try to quit smoking. Cost savings are being studied, and all indications suggest they will be significant.

"It is clear from these latest findings that the Commonwealth's efforts to help people quit smoking is a sound investment," Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby said. "I have requested that a full analysis of the cost savings reach my desk by June 30, 2010."

Three former U.S. Surgeons General and a national coalition of business, labor, health care professionals and nonprofits have endorsed a nationwide call for action (www.ACTTIONtoquit.org) to increase access to tobacco cessation benefits for smokers who want to quit. The head of Partnership for Prevention, the disease prevention advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., that organized the national effort, said the Massachusetts experience makes a strong case for exp
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SOURCE Partnership for Prevention
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