The U.S. Surgeon General has stated, "Smoking cessation represents the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives." With the cigarette tax in Massachusetts increased by $1 a pack and the excise tax on many other tobacco products increased as well, quitting is good opportunity to not only improve your health, but to improve your bottom line.
When you quit for good, your health improves immediately, regardless of your age or health status. In addition, family members' health is also greatly improved. A child living in a smoke-free environment is less likely to develop asthma, allergies, bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, lower respiratory tract infections or die from sudden infant death syndrome. Decreased exposure to secondhand smoke also leads to a lower risk of heart disease and lung cancer for the nonsmoking adults in the family. Remember, health benefits begin as soon as 20 minutes after quitting.
Many free resources are available to help you quit and many health insurance plans cover FDA-approved medicines and counseling for quitting:
Massachusetts Smokers' Helpline
1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) offers FREE information on quitting tobacco for all Massachusetts residents. Free telephone-based tobacco treatment counseling and services are available in English and Spanish, with translation for other languages. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call the TTY line (1-800-833-1477).
MTCP provides physicians and other health care professionals with the QuitWorks program, which allows them to refer their patients to free telephone counseling through the Massachusetts Smokers' Helpline. QuitWorks was developed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in collaboration with all major health plans in Massachusetts.
MassHealth and Commonwealth Care Quit Smoking Benefits
All FDA-approved quit-smoking medicines are covered, including:
Nicotine patches and nicotine gum
Bupropion (Zyban and Wellbutrin SR)
MassHealth Customer Service: 1-800-841-2900
Commonwealth Care Member Service Center: 1-877-623-6765