Smoking: More People Are Calling It Quits. We Know Why.

November 18, 2015 · NCQA

Did you see this? is reporting that the number of smokers continues to decline.

“According to data released by the CDC on Thursday, the smoking rate among adults is now at 16.8%—down from 20.9% in 2005 and 17.8% in 2013,” the Web Site reads.

That’s bright news.

Time reports there’s still more work to do with certain groups. Adults on Medicaid or without insurance smoke at rates more than twice that of adults who are on Medicare or have private insurance. 43% of adults with a G.E.D. were smokers, compared to 5% of adults with a graduate degree. Those living below the federal poverty line smoke at a rate of 26.3%.

Now, the silver lining in that cloud is this. The CDC data reinforce the concept that measurement and transparency do make an impact. Those with access to care are getting the advice and assistance they need to quit because providers and health plans are being held accountable—reporting their efforts to HEDIS®.

You can see it here in NCQA’s 2015 State of Health Care Quality report. The specific measures look at how many smokers and tobacco users are advised to quit. They also measure how many providers discuss medications and strategies for quitting.

These measures hold plans and providers accountable for addressing one of the country’s biggest health concerns. Based upon the latest CDC numbers, it’s working.

Now, the question. How do we get those vulnerable populations—the ones who are not getting the quitting advice—into the program?

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