Only 15% of CT Medicaid smokers are getting medications to help quit

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An article in this month’s Health Affairs estimates that only 15% of CT’s 102,000 Medicaid adults who smoke are getting medications to help them quit. While this is better than the 10% US average, there is a lot of room to improve. 31% of adults in our state’s Medicaid program smoke, about twice the rate for all CT adults. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease and the Surgeon General estimates that 15% of Medicaid spending results from smoking. The Affordable Care Act requires all Medicaid programs to offer smoking cessation treatment, but the extent and effectiveness of those programs vary considerably. The study estimates that 10% of all US Medicaid smokers are getting cessation medications but that rate varies from 27% in Minnesota to 2% in Rhode Island. The article outlines some differences between more and less effective states.