The state is making another move to overcome its portion of the country’s e-cigarette use problems.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the N.Y. Department of Financial Services is directing insurance companies in the state to cover vaping cessation costs.
The governor has ordered the department to direct insurers to pay related treatment expenses.
As a result of this order, insurance companies will need to pay the costs of vaping cessation treatments without requiring policyholders to contribute via deductible, co-pay or co-insurance. Insurers will be required to offer the same treatments for e-cigarette quitting that would be recommended for quitting cigarette smoking.
“E-cigarette use has exploded in recent years and many of the people who want to quit are now having trouble because vaping is more addicting than they previously thought,” said Governor Cuomo. He added that it was important for state residents seeking to quit to have treatment access and, “this action will require insurance companies to provide the same coverage they would for smoking cessation to anyone seeking to stop using e-cigarettes.”
Vaping cessation has become a growing priority as the number of associated health problems rise.
By December 3, there had been 48 deaths confirmed across 25 states, resulting from vaping-related illnesses. There have been 2,291 cases of lung injury from e-cigarette use reported to the Centers for Disease Control by that same date. New York on its own had 2 reported deaths linked to the practice by November 20.
New York’s first death directly linked with the use of e-cigarettes was recorded on October 4. In that case, a 17 year old from the Bronx suffered respiratory illness linked with the teen’s vaping habits. According to the state, the teen was first hospitalized in early September.
This isn’t the state’s first move against e-cigarettes. There is already a case held up in the court system for the purpose of banning flavored e-cigarettes. Moreover, the state is pressing forward to keep it going and may broaden it to include menthol.
Last week, the N.Y. Public Health and Health Planning Council voted to keep the emergency flavored e-cigarette ban active for another three months. It was first approved by the council in September. In October, the state appeals court blocked the state from enforcing it. Critics had sued New York, criticizing it as an overreach from the government that would harm small business. Moreover, some adult smokers have said that the flavors help them quit conventional smoking. The new vaping cessation order is separate from the flavored e-cigarette ban.