nosmokeMassachusetts is one of the hardest states in America to have a smoke. You can’t smoke indoors. You can’t smoke in bars. Tobacco shops are disappearing. Cigarette taxes are through the roof.

And it’s all working.

A study shows 26 percent fewer Massachusetts low-income Medicaid participants smoke since 2006.

Researchers also found that there were 12 percent fewer claims for adverse maternal birth complications.

“It is clear from these latest findings that the Commonwealth’s efforts to help people quit smoking is a sound investment,” said Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby.

“As the nation debates the future of its health care system, the national significance of this research cannot be understated,” said Robert J. Gould, PhD, President and CEO of Partnership for Prevention. “These findings demonstrate that prudent investments in preventive health today will have a dramatic and positive effect on our health care system tomorrow.”

Smoking is, of course, the number one cause of illness and death in the United States, according to experts. More than 8,000 Massachusetts residents die annually from the effects of smoking, and tobacco use is associated with $4.3 billion in excess health care costs in Massachusetts each year.

“These early findings offer great promise,” said Nancy Brown, National CEO of the American Heart Association.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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