Public Health

Oregon Tobacco Cessation Program

Charles Bentz, M.D.Charles Bentz, M.D., is a tobacco cessation researcher and is the medical director of the new tobacco cessation program in Oregon. He also has an internal medicine practice.

Quitters are winners - and now covered

Maybe it was your New Year's resolution? Maybe it was when you turned 35? Maybe you wanted to quit because you just knew it was time? For quitters in Oregon, help is here.

In pioneering Oregon, as of January 1, 2010, a new law makes us the seventh state to require health insurers to cover smokers who want to quit. This new law now requires your health insurer to cover tobacco use cessation benefits. Now private insurance will allow you at least $500 worth of benefits for access to and coverage of basic treatments, programs and services. Medicaid, Oregon Health Plan and Medicare continue to cover benefits to quit the smoking addiction.

While tobacco use is declining little by little in Oregon, as many as 17 percent, or approximately 487,540, of Oregonians use tobacco. In Linn County, 22.2 percent of adults smoke cigarettes , according to 2007 data estimates from the Oregon Department of Human Services. Statewide, about 16 percent of 11th graders smoke, according to Oregon DHS.

Quitting smoking is one of the best things a person can do for his or her health. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S. Tobacco use takes a significant toll on smokers' bodies; approximately 1,200 people die prematurely in the United States each day from smoking-related illnesses. More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by illegal drugs, firearms, alcohol, and motor vehicles combined.

Quitting smoking is difficult; many smokers try to quit smoking multiple times in their lifetime. Smokers will try to quit 6 to 9 times, on average, over their lifetime. While many smokers understand the health effects of smoking and want to quit, it's difficult for them to do so because nicotine addiction is a chronic, relapsing medical condition that often requires both medication and support to overcome. Seven in ten smokers want to quit but only three to five percent are successful when they try to quit without treatment or counseling.

The most important message is that you need not do it alone.

This new Oregon law will help remove one important barrier that hinders a smoker or tobacco user from quitting, which is the out of pocket expense of most tobacco cessation programs . The law took effect on Jan. 1 and is based upon recommendations made by the U.S. Public Health Service Guideline. A simple conversation with your primary care health provider can get you started. Beside options now covered by your insurance such as prescriptions, you can find inexpensive over-the-counter options such as the nicotine patch, lozenges, and nicotine gum to assist in quit attempts.

For free, you can make a call to the support program offered through the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line (1-800-QUIT-NOW). Now you can quit. Now it’s covered.

Questions and Answers

Click here for additional questions and answers information about the Oregon Tobacco Cessation Program.

 

 
 

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Most office sites are open Monday through Friday:

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You can contact us at the addresses and telephone numbers below or by e-mailing our staff.

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Albany

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2730 SE Pacific Blvd
Albany, OR 97321

Telephone: 541-967-3888 (Available 24/7 for communicable disease reporting call 541-750-0090)
FAX: 541-926-2102
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Lebanon

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1600 S Main St
Lebanon, OR 97355

Telephone: 541-451-5932
FAX: 541-258-5704
Toll free: 1-888-451-2631

Sweet Home

Office   view map
799 Long St
Sweet Home, OR 97386

Telephone: 541-367-3888
FAX: 541-367-2407
Toll free: 1-800-920-7571

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