Impact of economic policies on reducing tobacco use among Medicaid clients in New York

Jill M. Murphy, Donna Shelley, Patricia M. Repetto, K. Michael Cummings, Martin C. Mahoney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. New York State (NYS) recently implemented Medicaid coverage for prescription pharmacologic adjuncts for cessation and a 55-cent excise tax on a pack of cigarettes. This study examined awareness and use of stop smoking medications and changes in smoking/purchasing behavior among Medicaid clients. Methods. Participants (n = 173) were English-speaking Medicaid clients ages 18-64 years who currently smoked cigarettes and volunteered to be interviewed while waiting to reregister with the NYC Medicaid Office during early 2001. Data were collected using a brief (10-min) interviewer-administered questionnaire. Results. Over 80% of Medicaid clients reported some desire to stop smoking and 40% intended to stop smoking in the next 6 months. Awareness of Medicaid coverage for tobacco cessation pharmacotherapy was 7% for nicotine replacement therapy and 13% for bupropion. Use of these stop smoking medications varied across products but in general was low (<10%). Half of the Medicaid clients reported changing their smoking behavior as a result of the cigarette tax increase. Conclusions. The majority of Medicaid clients report a desire to stop smoking, but these economic influences alone are insufficient to substantially reduce smoking in this population. These findings emphasize the importance of allocating a portion of tobacco tax revenue to promote both expanded awareness of this prescription benefit among Medicaid clients and to support programs to further assist low-income smokers in their attempts to stop smoking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-70
Number of pages3
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003


  • Excise tax
  • Low income
  • Medicaid
  • Nicotine replacement therapy
  • Poverty
  • Smoking
  • Smoking cessation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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