Kentucky gets ‘F’ for tobacco control, but expansion of cessation programs in Medicaid should raise grade

As a proposed statewide smoking ban continues to be debated, Kentucky and Indiana have received dismal grades from the American Lung Association‘s recently released State of Tobacco Control 2009 report. But it’s 2011, and parts of the report are already out of date.

Kentucky received an “F” in all four assessed categories, including tobacco prevention and spending; smoke-free air; cigarette taxes; and cessation coverage. On the latter point, the state Medicaid program only provided coverage for smoking-cessation medication in 16 of 120 counties, but Gov. Steve Beshear announced in October 2010 that all Kentucky Medicaid patients are now eligible for nicotine- replacement therapy (NRT) products and tobacco-cessation medications. Under the program, the recipient is assessed by a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant. The recipient then chooses a smoking program in which to enroll and NRT or stop-smoking medications will be prescribed by the provider as needed. For more information about the program, click here.

Comprehensive smoking bans in Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort and other communities were commended in the report. For a report from Louisville’s WDRB-TV, click here.
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