A Call for ACTTION

Increasing Access to Tobacco-Use Treatment in Our Nation

In November 2008, a national workgroup released a call for ACTTION (Access to Cessation Treatment for Tobacco In Our Nation): An Action Plan to Address the Lack of Access to Tobacco-Use Treatment. ACTTION asks four essential sectors to take concrete steps to increase treatment. The goal is to expand access to comprehensive tobacco-cessation treatment to 50 percent of smokers by 2015 and all smokers by 2010. Call for ACTTION needs to be endorsed, disseminated and acted on by multiple sectors. The sectors and a sampling of recommended steps include:

Employers/Employer Organizations

  • Provide barrier-free access to comprehensive coverage of all treatments recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) tobacco-cessation guideline, including quitline services and over-the- counter medications.

Insurers

  • Provide comprehensive coverage for all treatments recommended by the PHS guideline. Remove barriers such as deductibles, co-payments and other requirements.

Tobacco Control/Public Health Advocates

  • Promote the urgency of quitting as early in life as possible and the importance of using proven treatments when making a quit attempt.

Healthcare Systems

  • Implement systems to ensure that all individuals seen in the healthcare system are screened for tobacco use.

Policy-makers

  • Require insurers to report information on the number of covered lives with access to comprehensive smoking-cessation benefits through publicly funded health programs.

All of these groups should promote the inclusion of cost-effective preventive services—such as tobacco-use treatment—in health reform proposals.

This article is part of a special issue on tobacco cessation in the March 2010 edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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