(KCPW News) The American Lung Association says Utah falls short in funding efforts to help smokers quit. But David Neville with the Utah Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, an extension of the Utah Department of Health, says there is a good reason why.
“It’s important to recognize that Utah has the lowest tobacco use rate in the nation and what we’re doing clearly works,” said Neville. “We could do more with more money, but we do extremely well with what we are given.”
The report show’s Utah spends just 30% of what the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends and lacks comprehensive cessation coverage for state employees. This includes nicotine replacement patches and counseling.
“But they do get free counseling through the Utah tobacco quit line, which is a free and confidential service provided by the Utah Department of Health. So while the health plan doesn’t cover it, the state does cover it. That’s why they’re saying it’s not comprehensive, but everybody does have that coverage in Utah,” says Neville.
Neville does mention one caveat. When someone who is insured calls the quit line, they qualify for 2 weeks of nicotine replacement patches, whereas someone who is uninsured qualifies for 6 weeks of patches.
According to the report, Utah spends $7.1 million annually on smoking cessation programs.