Friday, December 18, 2009

National Attention turns to Massachusetts

According to the New York Times article, "Massachusetts began offering virtually free treatments to help poor residents of the state stop smoking in 2006, proponents hoped the new Medicaid program would someday reap benefits. But state officials never expected it would happen so soon.

New state data show a steep drop in the smoking rate among poor people. When the program started, about 38 percent of poor Massachusetts residents smoked. By 2008, the smoking rate for poor residents had dropped to about 28 percent, a decrease of about 30,000 people in two and a half years, or one in six smokers, said Lois Keithly, director of the state’s Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program." Medicaid coverage of cessation services is imperative in making progress towards reducing tobacco use numbers in every state including Wisconsin. To learn more about the numbers read the full article.

Despite the fact that the research has not been peer reviewed this program is an important indicator that if a state makes an investment in tobacco prevention and control promising results are possible. This article comes on the heels of a report indicating that Wisconsin lags in its funding of tobacco control efforts.

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