New Medicare Coverage for Tobacco Cessation Counseling, Stalling Youth Smoking Rates named “Best/Worst News for Prevention
Posted Sep 08 2010 7:56am
The new Medicare benefit that provides coverage for tobacco cessation counseling to all smokers was named the “Best News for Prevention” while the stalling of youth smoking rates in recent years was named the “Worst News for Prevention.”
On August 25th, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced an expansion of Medicare coverage that is supported by many tobacco control advocates around the nation. This new expansion offers coverage of evidence-based tobacco cessation counseling, allowing many more smokers to get the treatment that they need.
Despite the fact that Medicare provides coverage for over 43 million beneficiaries, tobacco counseling was previously only offered to those individuals who were diagnosed with or showed symptoms of a tobacco-related disease. This new benefit provides coverage for tobacco cessation counseling to all smokers. As Secretary Kathleen Sebelius explains, “For too long, many tobacco users with Medicare coverage were denied access to evidence-based tobacco cessation counseling. Most Medicare beneficiaries want to quit their tobacco use. Now, older adults and other Medicare beneficiaries can get the help they need to successfully overcome tobacco dependence."
Although teen smoking rates dropped in the past decade, they have stalled in recent years, which means increased tobacco prevention efforts are needed, a new U.S. government study shows.
Between 2000 and 2009, cigarette smoking rates declined from 28 percent to 17.2 percent among high school students, and from 11 percent to 5.2 percent among middle school students, said researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, they noted that the declines between 2006 and 2009 were not statistically significant -- from 19.8 percent to 17.2 percent among high school students and from 6.3 percent to 5.2 percent among middle school students.
The “Best and Worst” awards are announced each week in “Prevention Matters,” the blog of Partnership for Prevention. "Best and Worst News for Prevention” is based on a purposive sample of expert staff members who each week choose to share their opinions on the best and worst news for prevention. More information is available at http://www.prevent.org/ .