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U.S. Quit-Smoking Policies Need Improving, Experts Say
Date:12/3/2012

MONDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. federal and state policies are at a "tipping point" in terms of winning the war against smoking, according to an American Lung Association report.

"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," Paul Billings, senior vice president of advocacy and education at the American Lung Association, said in an association news release.

The association believes the federal government has missed important opportunities to improve Americans' access to medications and counseling to help them quit smoking. The record among states is mixed, but too few provide coverage to help people kick the habit, the report said.

"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," Billings said. "States and the federal government can reduce the enormous health burden of tobacco use by providing access to these proven interventions."

Here are some key findings from the association's 2012 annual report:

In terms of Medicaid coverage, only two states (Indiana and Massachusetts) provide comprehensive coverage to help people quit smoking, and two states (Alabama and Georgia) provide no coverage. Four states (Colorado, Kansas, North Dakota and South Dakota) provided new counseling benefits for pregnant women in 2012. Connecticut and Tennessee announced new benefits for everyone in 2012 that are close to comprehensive.

In terms of state-employee health plan coverage, only four states (Illinois, New Mexico, North Dakota and Rhode Island) provide comprehensive coverage. All other states provide some type of coverage. In 2012, Florida, Georgia, Nebraska and New Jersey added new smoking-cessation benefits for state emp
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