Monday, August 29, 2011
Lung Association asserts helping smokers quit saves lives and tax payer dollars
Governor Quinn signed a new law today requiring private insurance companies to offer optional tobacco use cessation service coverage or reimbursement for up to $500 annually. SB0673
affects tens of thousands of tobacco users in the state of Illinois who may have wanted to quit, but couldn't afford to get the help they needed.
"More than 70% of tobacco users want to kick the habit," explains Kathy Drea, Vice President of Public Policy & Advocacy at the American Lung Association in Illinois. "But the addictive grip of nicotine prevents the majority from quitting. They need help and this law makes access to cessation medications and treatments easier."
Every year 443,000 people die from tobacco-related illnesses and secondhand smoke exposure, making tobacco the leading cause of preventable death. Quitting smoking has been shown to be the most important step a smoker can take to improve the length and quality of his or her life and most smokers need help in order to quit successfully.
"This law is a first step in reducing smoking rates in Illinois," continues Drea. "Quitting smoking not only saves smokers' health, it curbs the health costs that drain our state treasury. Giving all smokers access to a comprehensive cessation benefit is the right thing to do, and it's the smart thing to do."
In Illinois, for every dollar spent on smoking cessation services $1.29 is returned in increased productivity and reduced health care expenditures. About the American Lung Association in Illinois:
Our mission is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lungil.org