Letter: Smoking cessation program valuable
Friday, July 29, 2011
In 1998, Washington was one of 46 states that made a huge settlement with the tobacco industry as reimbursement for the costs of health care for Medicaid patients with tobacco-caused illnesses. Our current governor, then the attorney general of Washington, led the fight to get payment. A small portion of the money was applied to the Quit Line. I have referred many patients to that number, knowing that free, one-to-one phone counseling was given to support and encourage people in their fight to stop smoking. Now the state has cut the funding to this program, so that people without insurance are no longer able to have this free help. What a terrible waste. The money from the tobacco companies should have been dedicated to stopping smoking, since the cost of smoking-related care was the justification for the lawsuit in the first place.