President & CEO of the Mid-Atlantic American Lung Association Deb Brown says it is unfortunate New Jersey does not do enough to help its residents quit smoking.
The American Lung Association’s “Helping Smokers Quit: Tobacco Cessation Coverage 2011” report ranks New Jersey 41st among states in offering help in beating the habit. In fact, the Association ranks New Jersey as the fifth-least quit friendly state in the U.S.
According to njtoday.net, Brown said, “It’s imperative New Jersey policymakers step up and provide access to comprehensive, quit smoking services that will save lives and money.”
The “Helping Smokers Quit: Tobacco Cessation Coverage 2011” report ranked Maine as the most quit-friendly state, followed by North Dakota, Delaware, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. The Lung Association report also mentioned other ways states can help smokers quit, such as requiring private insurance companies to cover tobacco cessation treatments, and funding such programs at levels recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and by providing services like quitlines.
But New Jersey’s quitline is only funded at a rate of $0.35 per smoker for 2012. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a national minimum standard of $10.53.
According to the New Jersey Quitline site, counseling services became available to smokers who are uninsured or covered by Medicaid in September. Quitline callers speak to a coach with years of counseling experience who talk to them about the hardest parts of quitting, their past smoking, how to deal with things that make them want to smoke, • and avoiding slip-ups and relapses.
The Augusta Chronicle reported that Georgia came in first on the “least quit-friendly states” list. Second is Louisiana, then Alabama, Maryland, and fifth, New Jersey. Georgia is one of only two states who do not offer tobacco cessation coverage for Medicaid patients who are not pregnant.