TRENTON, NJ —  The Murphy administration is taking new steps to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit using tobacco by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in New Jersey, leading to chronic lung disease, heart disease, stroke and cancer,” said New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson. “The Murphy administration is committed to reducing tobacco use, which kills 11,800 New Jerseyans each year.”

Medicaid will make it easier for beneficiaries to get help quitting by removing the requirement that individuals need prior approval from their health plan before they obtain tobacco cessation medications. 

Sign Up for E-News

Also, in January Medicaid will add group counseling for tobacco cessation to services it covers.

"Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in New Jersey," said Michael Seilback, national assistant vice president for state public policy for the American Lung Association. “Expanding tobacco cessation coverage for Medicaid enrollees, who smoke at rates higher than the rest of the population, is not only an important opportunity to save lives and prevent tobacco-related disease, but it will also reduce the state's health care costs."

“The American Heart Association|American Stroke Association is supportive of this initiative,” said Dr. Jacqueline Schwanwede, president its Northern New Jersey Board of Directors. “Smoking is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke, but smokers often need help to quit this deadly habit."

With these changes, Medicaid will provide coverage of all seven Food and Drug Administration-approved tobacco cessation medications and all three forms of counseling that help smokers quit.