With the nation's highest rate of smokers, and an even higher rate among those who receive Medicaid, Kentucky hopes to chip away at those numbers.
The state Tuesday announced a pilot program to provide free nicotine patches and other stop-smoking aids to people who rely on the government health plan.
The $2 million program will also provide nicotine gum or lozenges to people who enter a telephone-counseling program, beginning December 15th.
State Health and Family Services Secretary Mark Birdwhistell says Medicaid spends about $140 million a year on smoking-related illnesses, which cost the state overall about $1.2 billion.
The smoking rate in Kentucky is about 29 percent, but the American Heart Association says for Medicaid recipients, the rate is 40 percent