IDPH acting director shares his vision for future of public health | Health
(KFVS) - The Illinois Department of Public Health Acting Director shared with local Murphysboro officials his vision for the future of public health, eliminating health disparities and chronic disease, and providing greater access to healthcare in Illinois.
Acting Director LaMar Hasbrouck also mentioned Gov. Pat Quinn's $1-per-pack increase in the state cigarette tax as an effective way to close the $2.7 billion Medicaid deficit and improve health benefits statewide by curbing the number of smokers.
“Local health departments are the front lines of public health and are our strongest allies in the effort to address and eliminate health disparities, provide access to quality health care and improve the overall health of Illinois residents,” said Dr. Hasbrouck.
One of the director’s priorities in preventing chronic disease is combating tobacco use and how the proposed cigarette tax can greatly help in this effort. According to IDPH, in every state that has significantly raised cigarette taxes, pack sales sharply decreased. Every 10 percent increase in the real price of cigarettes reduces overall cigarette consumption by 3 to 5-percent, reduces the number of young-adult smokers by 3.5 percent and decreases the number of children who smoke by at least 6 percent, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
The IDPH says in addition to improving the overall health and quality of life for those who quit or cut back, raising the cigarette tax would also slash health care costs over time. The projected savings over five years tops $17 million for medical treatments for cardiovascular disease, $8.5 million for lung cancer, and more than $9 million in overall savings to the Medicaid program – encouraging numbers for a state that currently spends $1.5 billion of its $14 billion Medicaid budget treating smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer and emphysema.
Dr. Hasbrouck will continue to visit local health departments in Illinois to learn about health issues each face and to develop strategies on how the state can help support local efforts.
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