Colorado Smoking Cessation Program Targets Hispanics; Cost of Program Raises Questions
An anti-smoking campaign in Colorado that involves door-to-door counseling in low-income Hispanic neighborhoods has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and "is raising questions about whether different strategies are needed" for smoking cessation efforts among minorities, the Denver Rocky Mountain News reports. Colorado in 2005 approved a tobacco tax increase, which so far directed $61 million to smoking cessation programs. Of that total, $5 million is earmarked for smoking cessation among populations with slightly or significantly higher smoking rates, such as Asians and Hispanics. In Colorado, 23% of Hispanics smoke, compared with 16% of whites. In the door-to-door effort -- a collaboration of the American Lung Association of Colorado, the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance and Community Research Education and Awareness, a private company -- a team goes to low-income Spanish-speaking neighborhoods to visit homes randomly, determine if a smoker lives in the household and then offer counseling if needed. The team will return to that home as many as five times for follow-up counseling. To date, the program has reached about one-fifth of 1% of the state's 650,000 Hispanic households and has spent $200,000. Other smoking cessation programs in Colorado spend less per person than the door-to-door effort, according to the Rocky Mountain News. A 15-member review committee of the State Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership has said it will examine the program's spending (Scanlon, Rocky Mountain News, 2/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.