Banning Indoor Smoking Helps Kids With Asthma

Submitted by Neil Minkoff MD on Fri, 2013-02-01 18:07

Researchers in Britain recently published a paper in Pediatrics showing a dramatic swing in admissions for childhood asthma after indoor smoking was banned by the British in 2007. A hospitalization trend that had been steadily around 2% fell to minus 9%. The trend was sustained.  10.1542/peds.2012-2592

I'm wondering, “What should Managed Care do with this information? What is the appropriate level of response? What haven't we tried already?”

We're already covering smoking cessation products and counseling. We've been trying to get our smokers to stop for a long time, but maybe this would be effective for those smokers with children. Is it a matter of further  education? I'd like to think so, but I doubt it. I don't believe that any smokers out there remain ignorant of the dangers to themselves or their families.

Is it a matter of incentives? Do we need to consider paying people to stop smoking? What about making smoking cessation free such as no cost-share on nicotine aids? I hear a lot about the robust public health systems in Europe, but smoking remains a serious issue there as well.

I hate to be on the ban-smoking bandwagon, but I'm at a loss at what to do. PLEASE let me know in the comments if you've got a smoking cessation program in managed care that really works.

Neil Minkoff, MD, is medical director of MediMedia  Managed Markets and also an independent health care consultant.