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Young Japanese to get expanded coverage for treatment of smoking addiction

JIJI

The health ministry is taking steps to help more young people quit smoking, including expanding the availability of care and penalizing medical institutions with low success rates of treating such addiction.

The ministry plans to expand national health insurance coverage in fiscal 2016 beginning April, so younger nicotine addicts can more easily receive medical treatments to quit smoking, informed sources said Wednesday.

Currently, costs for smoking cessation treatments are covered by the insurance if the figure obtained by multiplying the number of cigarettes a person smokes a day by the smoker’s age comes to 200 or higher.

The regulation keeps many young people who need help to stop smoking from seeing a doctor.

Given the situation, the ministry decided to make the insurance cover antismoking therapy costs paid by patients aged 20-34 without conditions, the sources said.

Meanwhile, insurance payments will be cut for medical institutions with poor records of curing nicotine addiction, they added.

The government hopes more young people will quit smoking, as abstention reduces life-related disease risks and, as a result, helps to curb the nation’s medical costs.

  • Akira Umeda

    Not age but years of smoking are used for the calculation currently. 3rd para.