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J Natl Med Assoc. 1997 May; 89(5): 325–328.
PMCID: PMC2608159

Patterns of use of a free nicotine patch program for Medicaid and uninsured patients.

Abstract

This study assessed the use and effectiveness of a free nicotine patch program among Medicaid and uninsured smokers. Patterns of patch use, associated behaviors with quit attempt, side effects, and self-reported abstinence from smoking for 6 months were evaluated prospectively among patients from five urban family practice offices and a nicotine dependence clinic located in a comprehensive cancer center in Western New York. Results indicated that the majority of participants used the program as intended, and 90% of the participants found the patch useful in their quit attempt. Fourteen percent of participants were abstinent for 6 months or more. We found no support for inappropriate use of transdermal nicotine patches among patients with no health insurance or those on Medicaid. Transdermal nicotine patches are an effective cessation aid for smokers. Given the tall of the consequences of smoking on health costs, barriers to access to effective treatment for smoking cessation among individuals covered by Medicaid for health insurance need to be eliminated.

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