[Crossposted from ONE Massachusetts by Harmony Blakeway]
As our community leaders and advocates look through the dramatic cuts being made to all manner of state structures and programs, we thought it would be good to look at one of our many success stories. This is just one example of a victory we can achieve if we work together to give it the proper support:
Drop in Smoking RatesState coverage for cessation programs hailed
Lower income Massachusetts smokers have dramatically abandoned their habit amid a major state campaign that vigorously promotes and pays for tobacco addiction treatment, according to a report scheduled to be released this morning.
Smoking rates among the poor plummeted 26 percent in the first two years of the ongoing state program, a striking result that is already drawing national attention to the effort. Officials targeted a population that historically had the highest smoking rates in Massachusetts. [Full Globe Article]
Although the study shows great success, including decreases in smoking-related health issues like asthma and heart attacks – funding for Massachusetts smoking prevention and cessation programs has been decreased by budget and 9C cuts from over $12 Million spent in FY2009 to $4.5 Million for FY2010. [Funding Details]
It is these types of cuts that are making folks ask for a more stable, balanced solution to our budget problems – not just for their specific program to be spared, but for a reformed look at our revenues, at our tax loopholes, and at what public structures are building a better Massachusetts.
because companies have stopped polluting instead of paying the fines? Dang fine-avoiders.
from the cigarette taxes. And the Governor still cut a $12 million dollar program down to $4 million. Makes no sense.
It is great that so many took the chance this offered to quit smoking. It really does not make sense to cut something working so well.
If anything we should be looking at programs which are underperforming and cutting those.
p>Didn’t we have a tax in the past that was created just for this type of program?
The results from this study are based on funding smoking cessation counseling and nicotine replacement in the MassHealth (the state’s Medicaid program). This is clearly stated in the Globe article. This program has not been cut. It demonstrates the effectiveness of health insurance covering programs to help people stop smoking. We should be advocating for all health plans to provide comprehensive coverage. It also shows that inspite of budget cuts we can make progress on smoking cessation.