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Notice to Readers: Great American Smokeout --- November 15, 2001

During 1977--1999, the proportion of persons who had ever smoked and had quit increased from 35.8% to 49.5% (1,2). On November 15, the American Cancer Society (ACS) will host the 25th annual Great American Smokeout to encourage smokers to quit tobacco use for at least 24 hours. In 2000, 19% of smokers participated in the Great American Smokeout; of these, 4% had not resumed smoking 1--5 days after the smokeout (ACS, unpublished data, 2000).

Smokers who use effective therapy to reduce their dependence on tobacco can approximately double the likelihood of quitting permanently (3). Pharmocotherapy, counseling, and behavioral tobacco-dependence treatments are effective clinically and are cost-effective compared with medical and disease prevention interventions (3,4). Although reducing cost to smokers for such therapies improves the likelihood of quitting (5), public and private insurance coverage for these treatments remains low (6). One of the 2010 national health objectives is to increase insurance coverage of evidence-based treatments for nicotine dependence (7) (objective 27.8). In addition, in 2001, the Office of Personnel Management encouraged an expansion of health insurance coverage for federal employees to include comprehensive coverage of tobacco-use treatment (8). Because insurance coverage for government employees often is an indicator of future trends, the new federal provision represents a major step in improved access to effective treatment.

Additional information is available by contacting ACS, telephone (800) 227-2345, <http://www.cancer.org>; or CDC, telephone (800) 232-1311, <http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco>.

References

  1. National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey [public use data tape], 1977.
  2. CDC. Cigarette smoking among adults---United States, 1999. MMWR 2001;50:869--73.
  3. Fiore MC, Bailey WC, Cohen SJ, et al. Treating tobacco use and dependence: clinical practice guideline. Rockville, Maryland: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 2000.
  4. Coffield AB, Maciosek MV, McGinnis JM, et al. Priorities among recommended clinical preventive services. Am J Prev Med 2001;21:1--9.
  5. Hopkins DP, Briss PA, Ricard CJ, et al. Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to reduce tobacco use and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Am J Prev Med 2001;20:16--66.
  6. CDC. State Medicaid coverage for tobacco dependence treatments---United States, 1998 and 2000. MMWR 2001;50:979--982.
  7. US Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy people 2010 (conference ed, 2 vols). Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, January 2000.
  8. US Office of Personnel Management, Washington, DC: Federal Employee Health Benefit Carrier Letter. US Office of Personnel Management, April 10, 2001.


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