As Smoking Cessation Trust Celebrates 5 Years, 70K+ LA Smokers Approved For Free Program
NEW ORLEANS – The Smoking Cessation Trust began enrolling members in April 2012. Since that time, the free program to help Louisiana smokers quit has approved 71,952 out of 74,876 membership applications (96 percent) submitted. The program generated 22,200 applications in 2016, up 2,093 (10 percent) from 2015. In April 2017, 1,703 Louisiana smokers enrolled in the program.
In partnership with a growing list of healthcare providers throughout the state, the Smoking Cessation Trust offers free medications, nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patches, lozenges, inhalers), group and individual counseling, and quit-line coaching to help Louisiana residents who started smoking prior to Sept. 1, 1988 quit. All programs and services are provided at no cost to Louisiana taxpayers, employers, managed care, Medicaid, Medicare, the state or the federal government. So, for many reasons, there's not a better time than right now to raise Louisiana's cigarette tax (only $1.08) to at least the U.S. average ($1.61), Trust reps said.
A list of Smoking Cessation Trust provider partners located throughout Louisiana include:
Affinity Health Group, Baton Rouge General, Cardiovascular Institute of the South, Daughters of Charity Health Centers, East Jefferson General Hospital, Heart Hospital of Lafayette, Heinen Medical Clinic, Imperial Health, LSU School of Public Health, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Minute Clinic/CVS Health, North Oaks Health System, Ochsner Health System, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center/OLOL Physician Group, Pelican Healthcare, The Rapides Foundation, St. Elizabeth Hospital, St. Francis Medical Center, St. Tammany Parish Hospital, Slidell Memorial Hospital, Southeast Community Health Systems, West Jefferson Medical Center, Willis-Knighton Health System
Thanks to referrals from healthcare influencers throughout Louisiana, the Smoking Cessation Trust averaged 1,850 new member applications throughout 2016, 1,192 per month since April 2012 and 1,634 since Jan. 1, 2014, trust reps said. The trust receives referrals from healthcare providers, health advocates, health systems, health plans, independent pharmacies and the friends and loved ones of smokers throughout Louisiana.
The Smoking Cessation Trust is the result of a court judgment in a 14-year-old class action lawsuit that ordered certain tobacco companies to fund a statewide, 10-year smoking cessation program. Because the trust is not allowed to use a single penny on advertising or traditional marketing, the program relies heavily on grass roots communications efforts, community outreach, social media and media relations activity to build awareness, trust reps said.
The only program of its kind in the United States, the Smoking Cessation Trust began enrolling members in 2012 and hopes to achieve its goal of helping 210,000 Louisianans become smoke-free by 2022, trust reps said.