Report Criticizes Most States’ Smoking Cessation Efforts for Women
Most states are not meeting national goals for smoking cessation among women, according to a study by the National Women's Law Center and Oregon Health & Science University, the New York Times reports. The report gave 39 states and the nation as a whole a failing grade. Grades of "satisfactory," "unsatisfactory" or "fail" were awarded based on CDC and National Center for Health Statistics data that "reflect whether a state or the country is on track" to meet 11 benchmarks for reducing smoking-related diseases by 2010, according to the Times. The benchmarks -- which, for example, look at the percentage of women who smoke or are given advice to quit from doctors -- were selected primarily from an HHS list of national goals in its "Healthy People 2010" agenda. Each state's report card includes an analysis of statewide tools to help women quit, such as counseling hotlines and cigarette sales taxes. Utah earned the highest grade of all states, with a "satisfactory minus," while Nevada and Kentucky, where nearly 30% of women smoke, earned the lowest grades. Health officials hope to lower the national smoking rates to 12% of adults overall and 1% of pregnant women (O'Connor, New York Times, 9/30). In the United States, about 20% of all women and at least 12% of pregnant women smoke, and state Medicaid programs spend $12 billion annually treating smoking-related diseases, according to the report. Seven state Medicaid programs cover comprehensive smoking cessation efforts (Zuckerbrod, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 9/29). Dr. Michele Bloch of the National Cancer Institute's tobacco control research program said that the report "reasonably concludes that most states are failing women" in helping them quit smoking (New York Times, 9/30). The report recommends that states shape cessation programs to better meet women's needs (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 9/29). The report is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.