What's The Best Way To Invest Health Care Dollars To Help Smokers Quit?
An interesting article was just posted in Huffington Post about tax dollars and how to use them to help people quit smoking.
In short, clinically proven methods like nicotine replacement therapy don't often work while using electronic cigarettes has much greater success rate but doctors are hesitant to suggest them because they are not clinically proven yet.
Here are the most interesting highlights from this article:
With the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act behind us, we will need to focus on its implementation and how our health care dollars are best used.
The public health campaign against tobacco products reduced smoking rates by one-half over the 40 years between 1965 and 2004, from 42.4 percent of Americans over 18 years old to 20.9 percent. Since then, however, the smoking rate has held steady nationwide, at about 19 percent, proving more stubborn and resistant to decrease.
The current standard public health approach to help smokers is to provide free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) through telephone call centers or "quitlines." However, recent studies have highlighted the limits of giving out nicotine patches and gum as a stand-alone approach, even when it includes minimal telephone counseling. NRT does what it does well: easing the physical symptoms of quitting when they are present. However, it was never designed to be a complete cure-all or to bear the entire burden of quitting, especially for hard-core smokers. Clearly, many smokers who struggle to quit need more than NRT alone, but what?
"Harm reductionists" assert that people who can't quit on their own, or with presumed "ineffective" methods such as NRT, should be encouraged to switch to less risky tobacco products like smokeless tobacco (ST) or other smokeless products such as e-cigarettes. Unlike NRT, these products are not subject to safety or quality control standards, which puts health care clinicians ("first do no harm") who might want to recommend them in an ethical bind.
Quitting smoking, even later in life, is associated with greater independence, a longer active life span, less disability and fewer doctor's visits. Despite all the differences people may have about how to get there, one thing is clear: Quitting smoking produces a good return on investment indeed.
I got to agree with the last paragraph – no matter what way you choose, it's worth it try quitting. why not give electronic cigarettes a try as a starter?