A new study suggests more people would quit smoking if insurance companies or the government pick up the tab for counseling or medications to kick the habit.
Dutch government sees success
When the Dutch government covered the cost of smoking cessation products, the number of people enrolled in the program shot up ten fold.
In 2010, when there was no reimbursement system, 848 smokers enrolled in the hotline’s smoking-cessation programs. Compare that to the 9,091 smokers enrolled in the hotline’s programs during 2011, the year the reimbursement offer was in effect.
“We can only speculate about what this means for individual smokers. But I believe that many smokers really appreciate smoking cessation support being reimbursed,” Marc Willemsen, the study’s lead author and a professor at Maastricht University in The Netherlands told Reuters.
He went on to say, “I would go as far as saying that this signals to smokers who have a hard time quitting their habit, that the government cares and that the fact that they are fighting a serious addiction, is taken seriously.”
Cigarettes with Less Nicotine
In an unrelated effort to get more people to quit smoking, the National Health Institute is testing cigarettes with varying levels of nicotine.
A Massachusetts company has created the Spectrum brand test cigarettes with eight different levels of nicotine for research, from a nicotine content of 3 percent to 100. The idea is to recruit smokers to use these cigarettes and see if these cigarettes encourage people to quit, or at the very least offer less inhalation of nicotine. One study of the test cigarettes will follow about 500 smokers over six months to see how it works.
The Massachusetts company is now seeking approval from the FDA to use their low nicotine cigarettes as a stop smoking aid. It’s the first time cigarettes are being considered as a healthy alternative.