Today’s decision by a federal judge to block implementation of graphic cigarette warnings ordered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is wrong on the law, inconsistent with decades of precedent and harms public health.
Minnesota House Committee Advances Bill for Increased Access to Tobacco Cessation Treatment and Medications
An estimated 574,000 Minnesota adults smoke and need help quitting
Eagan, Minn. — Today, the House Preventive Health Policy Division voted in favor of advancing House File 3153, which would ensure that Medicare Assistance and MinnesotaCare enrollees have insurance coverage for individual, group and telephone counseling, as well as all FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications without cost-sharing or other barriers. The bill would also expand the types of trained providers that can be reimbursed for providing tobacco treatment counseling.
Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation, a coalition that supports policies that help prevent and reduce commercial tobacco use, commends the committee’s decision to support legislation that would remove barriers to proven tobacco cessation strategies. HF 3153 now goes to the House Health Finance and Policy Committee for a hearing.
Commercial tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disability, death and disease, claiming the lives of 6,300 Minnesotans each year and costing the state over $3 billion in excess annual health care costs.
A report on smoking cessation by the Surgeon General concluded that insurance coverage leads to higher rates of successful quitting and is cost-effective. Tobacco cessation help costs a fraction of what it takes to annually treat smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Medicaid coverage can also help in reducing existing disparities in tobacco use. Nearly half of adults who smoke have a household income of $35,000 or less. Smoking rates among Medicaid enrollees are twice that of the general population. People living with mental illnesses or substance abuse disorders are more dependent on tobacco, smoke more heavily and are more likely to die from tobacco-related disease than from their mental health or substance use conditions.
“We commend the House Preventive Health Committee for taking a stand for public health and urge the House Health Finance and Policy Committee and Senate Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee to follow suit. Increasing access to comprehensive and barrier-free tobacco cessation medication and treatment services will help reduce health care costs at the state level, reduce health disparities and, above all, save lives,” said Emily Myatt, tri-chair of Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation.
For more information, visit smokefreegenmn.org.