Tobacco use has been found to be one of the primary drivers of cancer-related health disparities because its use disproportionately impacts people based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, mental health, income level, education level, and geographic location. Achieving health equity relies heavily on eliminating tobacco use. ACS CAN is pursuing fact-based tobacco control policies at the local, state and federal levels that aim to reduce disparities and improve health outcomes for everyone.
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.