HHS boosts smoking cessation, vaccinations with $137 million to states

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday awarded $137 million to states to boost prevention and public health initiatives, including support for smoking-cessation programs and vaccinations.

Awarded in nearly every state, the grants enhance state, tribal, local and territorial efforts to provide tobacco cessation services, strengthen public health laboratory and immunization services, prevent healthcare-associated infections, and provide comprehensive substance abuse prevention and treatment.

“More than ever, it is important to help states fight disease and protect public health,” stated HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “These awards are an important investment and will enable states and communities to help Americans quit smoking, get immunized and prevent disease and illness before they start.”

The awards include nearly $5 million to help states and territories enhance and expand the national network of tobacco cessation quit-lines to increase the number of tobacco users who quit. Quit-lines are the toll-free numbers people can call to obtain smoking-cessation treatments and services. And more than $42 million has been earmarked to support improvements to the Immunization Information Systems (registries) and other immunization information technologies, the development of systems to improve billing for immunization services, the planning and implementation of adult immunization programs, the enhancement of vaccination capacity located in schools, and evaluations of the impact on disease of recent vaccine recommendations for children and adolescents.

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