Most states, including Missouri, are falling far short of providing the help that millions need to quit smoking, according to the association's "Helping Smokers Quit: Tobacco Cessation Coverage 2011" report. Only Maine, North Dakota, Delaware, Oklahoma and Wyoming qualify to receive recognition for their efforts but even they could do more, Sara Dreiling, chief executive officer of the American Lung Association, Plains-Gulf Region, warns.
Despite greater public understanding about the health risks of smoking, 443,000 people still die each year from tobacco-related illnesses and secondhand smoke exposure, the association reports. They urge every state to provide Medicaid recipients and state employees with comprehensive, easily accessible tobacco cessation medications and counseling. A comprehensive benefit includes all seven medications and three types of counseling recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service for helping smokers quit.
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