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NAQC Newsroom: Announcements

ALA Use of Quitline Data and Upcoming Webinar

Thursday, December 1, 2011  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov

On December 7, 2011, the American Lung Association (ALA) will be releasing its fourth annual Helping Smokers Quit: Tobacco Cessation Coverage 2011 report. This report provides an overview of smoking cessation services and treatments offered in each state by Medicaid, Medicare, state employee plans, quitlines and private insurance. It also discusses past and future federal government actions to help smokers quit.Click here to view last year’s report.

We are writing to encourage you to attend a webinar hosted by ALA on December 7 at 2 p.m. Eastern time where they will discuss the findings, focus of this year’s report, and 2011 trends.To register for the webinar, click here.

This is one of two reports that ALA will be releasing shortly that makes use of NAQC Annual Survey data. We view the release of these reports as an opportunity for quitlines to work with advocates in your states to improve the visibility of the quitline in the state, and to let the advocates know what resources the quitline needs in order to be able to do a better job. Advocates for each state who can help you make the case for additional resources for your quitline will be on the call on December 7.

NAQC has been working with ALA since 2009 on ways to best use NAQC Annual Survey data in its Helping Smokers Quit: State Cessation Coverage report as well as its State of Tobacco Control Report (SOTC). Together, ALA and NAQC worked closely over the course of 2010 to develop a metric for quitlines that seemed to be both fair and accurate with respect to quitline activity in the states. To do so, we asked ALA to participate in a discussion with NAQC’s Advisory Council. Based on that discussion, ALA changed the metric it uses in calculating grades for state tobacco control programs from a combination of eligibility requirements for counseling and medications, reach, and provision of free medications, to using only a single calculation: spending per smoker. This was felt to be the best way to provide a metric that takes into account the relative sizes of the different states and tobacco using populations, and did not fall prey to some of the intricacies and complicated factors with some of the other potential measures.

The ways the two reports use quitline data are:

  • Helping Smokers Quit: State Cessation Coverage
    • provides an overview of smoking cessation services and treatments offered in each state by Medicaid, Medicare, state employee plans, quitlines and private insurance.
    • discusses past and future federal government actions to help smokers quit.
    • NAQC data are presented in a single table as an appendix. Variables included for each state include spending per smoker, treatment reach, and whether free medications are provided as part of the quitline service.
  • State of Tobacco Control Report (SOTC)
    • tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels and gives grades to tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 1, of each year. The federal government, all 50 state governments and the District of Columbia are graded to determine if tobacco control laws are adequately protecting citizens from the enormous toll in lives and money caused by tobaccouse.
    • State level tobacco control policies are graded in four key areas: tobacco prevention and control spending, smokefree air laws, state cigarette excise tax and coverage of tobacco cessation treatments and services. Quitline spending per smoker counts for 20 of the 60 possible points within the "coverage of tobacco cessation treatments and services” section. Points are awarded based on how close quitlines get to the target spending amount of $10.53 or more per smoker on quitline services and medications (consistent with the recommendation from the CDC and NAQC’s strategic goals). Point allocations are as follows:
      • $$/smoker ≥ 9.5 = 20 points
      • $$/smoker 8.5 – 9.4 = 18 points
      • $$/smoker 7.5 – 8.4 = 16 points
      • $$/smoker 6.5 – 7.4 = 14 points
      • $$/smoker 5.5 – 6.4 = 12 points
      • $$/smoker 4.5 – 5.4 = 10 points
      • $$/smoker 3.5 – 4.4 = 8 points
      • $$/smoker 2.5 – 3.4 = 6 points
      • $$/smoker 1.5 – 2.4 = 4 points
      • $$/smoker .5 – 1.4 = 2 points
      • $$/smoker < .5 = 0 points
    • For more on the methodology used to calculate state grades for the report, see http://www.stateoftobaccocontrol.org/state-grades/methodology/cessation-treatment.html.

Again, we encourage you to participate in the webinar on December 7. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact Jessie Saul, NAQC’s Director of Research, at jsaul@naquitline.org.


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