Help From the Affordable Care Act to Quit Smoking and Live Longer

By Dr. Howard K. Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health
Posted January 25, 2013

Quitting smoking by age 35 may add 10 years to your life, according to a new article in the New England Journal of Medicine. And quitting even in middle age can increase your life expectancy by as many as six years. In fact, non-smokers are twice as likely to live to age 80 compared to smokers.

That’s why the Administration is focused on helping people, especially youth, from taking up smoking in the first place and helping adult smokers quit.  It’s not easy to stop smoking. The good news is that now, because of the Affordable Care Act, Americans have greater access than ever to resources to help them quit.

Get on the path to a healthier you. For a text-version of the information displayed on the infographic, use the link of the image.

For many Americans with private health insurance plans, tobacco use screenings for all adults, cessation interventions for tobacco users, and expanded counseling for pregnant women who smoke will be covered at no out-of-pocket cost. And seniors and people with disabilities with Medicare who smoke or use tobacco products are now covered for counseling to help them stop.

But that’s not all we are doing. We are making an unprecedented investment in programs like the Million Hearts initiative, because cigarette smokers are 2-4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers. And a national ad campaign by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention helped tens of thousands of smokers to quit. Through investments in programs like these, we can prevent and detect heart disease early­ and we can get people the information they need to stop smoking and make good health decisions.

Quitting smoking may be the single most effective thing you can do to improve your life expectancy, according to the article’s findings. And now the Affordable Care Act can help you find the way to quit and add years to your life.

Visit for additional resources on quitting and preventive tips for youth.

For more information about the CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers ad campaign, see

Listen to the Podcast: Be Tobacco Free.

Content last reviewed on September 29, 2014