While overall smoking rates have declined in recent years, smoking rates remain higher among specific populations, including people with limited incomes. These differences are in large part due to the tobacco industry’s targeted marketing through advertising, price discounting and other strategies. Every year the tobacco industry spends $9.1 billion in the United States marketing their deadly and addictive products.
Medicaid Coverage of Tobacco Cessation Can Help to Address Health Disparities
In 2020, nearly 31 million adults used cigarettes and a disproportionate number of those individuals relied on Medicaid for their health care.[i] Smoking cigarettes significantly increases an individual’s risk to get at least 12 cancers.[ii] The smoking rates for adults on Medicaid is 22.7%, which is more than double the 9.2% of individuals who smoke with private insurance or the overall 12.5% of adults who smoke.[iii] Many individuals on Medicaid have limited incomes and studies have identified that they are unable to pay out-of-pocket for this lifesaving treatment.[iv] Medicaid enrollees are more likely to need cessation support given their economic status and higher likelihood of tobacco use, yet not all Medicaid plans provide a comprehensive tobacco cessation benefit.
[i] Cornelius ME, Loretan CG, Wang TW, Jamal A, Homa DM. Tobacco Product Use Among Adults — United States, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:397–405. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7111a1.
[ii]Simmons VN, Piñeiro B, Hooper MW, Gray JE, Brandon TH. Tobacco-Related Health Disparities Across the Cancer Care Continuum. Cancer Control. 2016;23(4):434-441. doi:10.1177/107327481602300415.
[iii] Cornelius ME, Loretan CG, Wang TW, Jamal A, Homa DM. Tobacco Product Use Among Adults — United States, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:397–405. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7111a1.