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The project involves a comprehensive analysis of the effects of Medicaid coverage of smoking cessation therapies (SCTs) on adult smoking and child health. SCTs include products such as the nicotine patch, inhaler, and gum and pharmaceuticals. In previous work, the researcher has shown that Medicaid coverage of SCTs reduces smoking among low-income parents who are likely to be eligible for Medicaid.

This reduction in smoking is concentrated among women who have very young children, suggesting the mothers quit smoking during pregnancy or shortly after birth. Consequently, Medicaid coverage of SCTs may have the benefit of reducing secondhand smoke exposure among children in utero and during childhood. The researcher will test whether reductions in parental smoking resulting from the benefit cause improvements in child health as measured by birth weight, asthma attacks, ear infections, sickness, days of school missed, and other indicators.

Alison Witman

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