Quitting smoking today is the number one thing that Californians can do to improve their health. Not a moment goes by without a citizen of our country and the State of California suffering from the hazards of tobacco use. Tobacco use has far reaching ramifications that encompass not only health issues, but widespread economic issues. But many people lack access to the programs that will help them quit. We can and should give them that access.
A law to require insurance companies to cover smoking cessation services at no out-of-pocket cost to consumers would improve public health and the economy at a cost of less than $1 a month for each person covered by insurance, according to an independent analysis of the proposal.
A middle-aged man who is a life-long smoker shows up in the doctor’s office after suffering a shortness of breath. His declining health has put his job in jeopardy, but he is addicted to tobacco and unlikely to kick the habit any time soon. He is also short of money. His physician wonders whether the patient will take a generic medication she prescribes for him or return soon to the ER with another expensive-to-treat medical crisis.