Thursday, August 5, 2010

ActiontoQuit is a tobacco cessation initiative sponsored by Partnership for Prevention. It urges all sectors - employers, insurers, health care systems, quitlines, and policymakers - to work together to ensure that all tobacco users have access to comprehensive cessation treatments.

Senior Program Officer for the Partnership for Prevention, David Zauche, recently spoke with the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center about current activities and future projects of ActionToQuit.  We posted part one of the interview last Monday, August 2.  Here is part two:

5. How does the [Save Lives and Money - Help People on Medicaid Quit Tobacco] guide address the passage of health reform for Medicaid and cessation coverage? For example: I understand the new health reform bill requires that all state Medicaid programs provide comprehensive tobacco cessation care to pregnant women. What are some of the recommendations in the guide for state Medicaid programs to implement these changes?

The passage of health reform will do much to advance tobacco cessation in the United States. Shortly, private health plans will be required to extend coverage of many clinical prevention services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. This coverage will include tobacco cessation interventions. All state Medicaid plans will be required to provide tobacco cessation coverage for pregnant women, but to them only. Partnership for Prevention and other national partners believe that this is the right time for states to voluntarily extend tobacco cessation coverage to all Medicaid beneficiaries, not just pregnant women. The six states I mentioned have done this because it made sense from the health promotion and fiscal angles. When people quit smoking successfully, they realize many health benefits. But states can benefit too.

6. Action to Quit has many cessation resources and partnership activities listed on the website. Are there specific resources Partnership offers around implementing tobacco free policy changes which you can share with our audience?

Three guides, all available for free download on, come to mind. "Smoke-Free Policies - An Action Guide" is a resource for workplaces and community leaders that want to establish ordinances to protect the public from secondhand smoke. It translates the evidence-based recommendations in "The Community Guide" into implementation strategies. "Investing in a Tobacco-Free Future" is a tool kit for the workplace. It outlines the costs of smoking to businesses, the impact on worker productivity, and how to implement tobacco use treatment policies through a health plan. "Investing in Health - Proven Health Promotion Practices for Workplaces" charts a course for businesses to implement three inexpensive strategies to save lives from tobacco. They are: implementing tobacco-free policies, offering tobacco use treatment benefits, and providing access to a telephone quitline for tobacco users.

7. What other tools and resources can people anticipate in the future?

Partnership for Prevention recently extended funding to the Joint Commission to develop and test a global set of tobacco cessation quality standards which would be applicable to all hospitalized patients. If adopted, these measures will require hospitals to identify all patients who use tobacco and offer them counseling, medications and limited follow-up. Later in 2010, when the final standards are published, Partnership will create and disseminate an implementation guide for hospitals. Additionally, Partnership will produce case studies for each of our funded ActionToQuit grantee states. These will describe their journey in forming a state tobacco cessation alliance, holding a summit meeting, and creating a state action plan to advance cessation.

8. What recommendations do you have for those interested in creating their own partnership around cessation or improving one that already exists?

Two things have been proven in recent years:

• First, the highly successful tobacco tax and smoke-free state campaigns have proven that tobacco control advocates can come together and, through a strong synergistic effort, change policies and save lives. It's happened across the country.
• Second, we've learned just recently that a state can cover all its Medicaid subscribers for tobacco cessation treatment and see positive short term results. Massachusetts implemented a comprehensive tobacco cessation benefit in July of 2006 and has seen smoking rates for beneficiaries drop 26% in two and a half years. The state has also seen significant decreases in hospitalizations for heart attacks, emergency room visits for asthma symptoms, and adverse maternal birth complications.

The ActiontoQuit Network is a group of over 500 professionals who are committed to tobacco cessation.

For more information contact:
Brandi Robinson at, 202-384-1505 or
David Zauche at, 202-375-7807.


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