As of July 30, 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) public housing is smoke-free nationwide. This new federal rule intends to protect residents from the dangers of secondhand smoke – such as premature death and diseases including cancer, asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and more.[i]

This is a critical time to talk to your patients who use tobacco products about becoming and staying tobacco-free. Even brief counseling increases the odds that a patient will successfully quit smoking compared to those who do not receive counseling from a health care provider.[ii]

Remind them that most insurance plans, including Medicaid, cover counseling and cessation medications to assist them in their quitting process. KanCare (Kansas Medicaid) now covers up to four quit attempts per year. Each “quit attempt” includes a free round of nicotine replacement therapy and unlimited counseling sessions.

Don’t forget about the free resources available to tobacco users and their families through the Kansas Tobacco Quitline. The Quitline is available online and by phone, text, or mobile application 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Translation services are available in 150 languages and to people with hearing impairments. The Quitline can be contacted by calling 1-800- QUIT- NOW (784-8669) or by visiting www.KSQuit.org.

The Quitline also offers a Behavioral Health Program which provides free nicotine replacement therapy and additional calls with a Quit Coach for callers with certain mental illnesses including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, substance (drug or alcohol) use disorder (SUD), generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

In addition, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment can provide guidance, resources, and technical assistance to help your organization improve tobacco screening guidelines, provide provider education, develop tobacco-free campus policies, and more, all at no cost. Contact the Kansas Tobacco Use Prevention Program at 785-296-8127 or kdhe.tupp@ks.gov.

[i]Office of the Surgeon General. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006.
[ii]Fiore, M.C. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 2008.