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What It Is

Each year more than 8,000 Kentuckians die of illnesses caused by tobacco use. Some die of lung cancer, while others fall victim to cardiovascular disease. Annually, Medicaid and Medicare costs exceed an estimated $1.2 billion for treatment of Kentuckians suffering smoking-related diseases and conditions. This equals $300 for each of the four million people living in Kentucky.

To help ease the toll tobacco takes on the health of Kentuckians, the state Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program has adopted the four Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) goals for reducing the negative health effects of tobacco use:

  • Preventing the initiation of tobacco use among young people
  • Promoting cessation among young people and adults
  • Eliminating non-smokers exposure to environmental tobacco smoke
  • Identifying and eliminating the disparities related to tobacco and its effects on different population groups
The program mission is to reduce preventable and premature deaths attributed to tobacco use by implementing programs to decrease tobacco use and exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. This includes local and statewide programs encouraging youth not to use tobacco products and helping those who want to quit in doing so.

These goals are achieved through a community component based in local health departments. This draws on existing infrastructure and strong links between local groups concerned about reducing the health risks and illness associated with tobacco use. To ensure progress toward these goals, a 2008-2013 Tobacco Program Strategic Plan was developed.

Kentucky is one of 46 states to receive funds from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. With these funds and a grant from CDC, staff in the Kentucky Department for Public Health provides ongoing technical support and training for local health departments as well as funding to help achieve specific area goals.

Tobacco Fact Sheets and Resources

2004 surgeon general's report, The Health Consequences of Smoking fact sheet. Visit this CDC website to view the entire report.

Second-hand Smoke The following provide additional information about the health effects of secondhand smoke in the home.

Cessation Tools

Tips for Becoming a Nonsmoker

Several types of prescription and over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) are available. NRT options 

Help with quitting fact sheet ( La versión en español)

Quick Reference Card

The Three Ds is a business card-size reminder for smokers and those trying to quit using smokeless tobacco. Cards can be printed on standard size business card stock.

Front of card

Back of card

Kentucky Tobacco Data

Current Tobacco Data and Research in Kentucky

Tobacco Use in Kentucky 2012 is a report produced by the Kentucky Department for Public Health Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program (KTPC). The report focuses on the burden of smoking on Kentucky, the toll on residents and successes in Kentucky’s efforts to reduce the health effects from tobacco use.

The Toll of Tobacco in Kentucky is produced and regularly updated by KTPC offering facts about how tobacco affects Kentucky and its residents. The fact sheet is written in plain language to explain tobacco’s toll on Kentucky to a wide audience.

Kentucky’s 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System report was released in late 2013 and includes Area Development District profiles for a variety of health behaviors. Information specific to tobacco use in Kentucky and your ADD can be found in this report.

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS) monitors six types of health risk behaviors that contribute to poor health outcomes in youth and adults including tobacco use. Data is only available at the state-level and county estimates cannot be developed from the survey.

The 2012 Kentucky Incentives for Prevention Survey assesses the extent of youth access and use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco among 11 to 18 year olds.

Kentucky Youth Tobacco Survey

The Kentucky Youth Tobacco Survey is administered to middle and high school students across Kentucky to examine Kentucky’s progress toward strategic goals. Students are randomly selected to participate in the survey that asks questions about tobacco including both smoking and chewing behaviors.

2010 Kentucky Youth Tobacco Survey fact sheets

Past Reports

Tobacco Use in Kentucky - 2012

Additional Data

Kentucky Health Facts is a website developed by the Foundation for Healthy Kentucky that provides information on a variety of health issues in Kentucky including tobacco use. Data is available at the state, county and ADD level.

The Kentucky Tobacco Policy Research Program at the University of Kentucky is a program that works in collaboration with KTPC on surveillance and evaluation data related to the prevalence of tobacco use and tobacco use policies in Kentucky.

The Kentucky Incentives for Prevention Survey is conducted in even-numbered years as part of the Governor’s Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Initiative. It is designed to assess the extent of alcohol, drug and tobacco use among 11-18 year-olds throughout Kentucky.

PANTA is a resource guide developed collaboratively through the Kentucky Department of Education, the Kentucky Department of Public Health and the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. Designed to promote the connection between health and academics and the understanding of the priority health risk behaviors of youth, the report is a useful tool for local practitioners in many fields to get a snapshot of information and best practices.

The State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation ( STATE) system is maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is an electronic data warehouse containing current and historical data on tobacco prevention and control. The state-level information cites additional measures outside of health behaviors such as legislation and economics of tobacco control.

Data Reports

Data from the 2004 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) on the prevalence of spit tobacco use.

Data from the 2004 BRFSS on the prevalence of tobacco use by area development district

In fall 2005, the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program held 10 public forums throughout Kentucky to seek community input on tobacco issues. Topics discussed at the forums included youth initiation, youth and adult cessation, second-hand smoke and local policies. View the summary report.

Maps Representing Tobacco Use in Kentucky



Smoking Prevention and Cessation

Smoking or using smokeless tobacco products (snuff, chewing) is expensive, gives you bad breath, causes wrinkles, but most importantly, can cause serious health problems including strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, lung cancer, emphysema, and mouth cancer. Smokeless tobacco products can also cause gum disease and tooth loss. Women who smoke increase their chance at having a premature and/or low birth weight baby. Newborns exposed to smoke have increased risk of crib death. Children exposed to smoke in their environment have increased risks of asthma, ear and respiratory infections. Ask your health care provider for smoking cessation tips or referral to a smoking cessation class in your community. It is never too late to quit!

Medicaid Tobacco Cessation Program

Tobacco cessation medication and/or nicotine replacement therapy is available to Kentucky Medicaid members who use tobacco products. Dual-eligible members may be eligible to receive some of the available medicines to help them quit using tobacco.

Members enrolled in a managed care organization (Aetna Better Health, Anthem, Humana Caresource, Passport Health Plan or WellCare of Kentucky) should contact that organization for the details of their tobacco cessation programs.

What is the process?

A prescription is needed for all tobacco cessation medications, including over-the-counter nicotine replacement products. No copayment is required for these medications. Some products are not preferred and will require review via the prior authorization process. 

Tobacco cessation assessment takes a minimum of 10 minutes, is performed face to face and must include: asking the patient about tobacco use; advising the patient to quit; and assessing the patient's readiness to quit. If the assessed member's readiness to quit occurs during a regular office visit, the tobacco cessation counseling can be billed separately using CPT Code 99407. The assessment must include history of tobacco use, medical and psychosocial history, review of coping skills and barriers to quitting.

Where do I go for more information?

For more information, call Kentucky Medicaid at 800-635-2570. If you are assigned to Aetna Better Health, Anthem, Humana CareSource, Passport Health Plan or WellCare of Kentucky, call the number on the back of your membership card to find out about their tobacco cessation program.

Medicaid/Medicare Tobacco Cessation Benefits

Medicaid/MCO Tobacco Cessation Benefits

Medicare Tobacco Cessation Benefit

Medicare provides coverage for smoking and other tobacco use counseling for participants who meet one of the following criteria:

  • use tobacco and have a disease or an adverse health effect that has been found by the U.S. Surgeon General to be linked to tobacco use; or
  • are taking a therapeutic agent whose metabolism or dosing is affected by tobacco use as based on Food and Drug Administration-approved information

Medicare will cover two cessation attempts per year. Each attempt may include a maximum of four counseling sessions. The total annual benefit covers up to eight smoking and tobacco use cessation counseling sessions in a 12-month period.

Medicare's prescription drug benefit also covers smoking and tobacco use cessation agents prescribed by a physician.

For additional information about this benefit, visit the Medicare website or call 1-800-MEDICARE (800) 633-4227.