An online database of about 2,000 medical institutions that accept health insurance for a course of nonsmoking treatment has been made available by the Japanese Society for Tobacco Control, the group’s officials said Thursday.

Treatment for quitting smoking was included in health insurance coverage in April when the government revised the medical fee reimbursement schedule.

The change allowed people wanting to quit smoking to use health insurance at medical institutions registered with the offices of the Social Insurance Agency that meet certain criteria, including having doctors experienced in nonsmoking programs.

But so far, the only way to find out where such facilities were was to either ask social insurance offices or to make direct inquiries to individual medical institutions.

The group contacted social insurance offices across Japan in June and July and made a list of names, addresses and telephone numbers of qualifying medical organizations by prefecture, before making it available online since late July.

People who qualify for the health insurance coverage are those who have smoked for many years and are diagnosed with nicotine addiction.

The group said out-of-pocket payment for a two- to three-month course of treatment will amount to about 30,000 yen, but health insurance would cut the cost to less than half.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said that if the health insurance scheme helps increase the number of tobacco quitters, the number of cancer and stroke patients will decrease, leading to a reduction of the 50 billion yen-plus in annual medical costs in 10 years.

Manabu Sakuta, president of the tobacco control society, said this summer is a good opportunity to quit smoking because of the hike in tobacco prices introduced in July.

“I hope that they use this Web site to go to get the treatment.”

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.