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My name is Phil Nudelman, and I am a quitter. Now, normally I would not brag about being a quitter, but in this case I am really proud of that fact. Over 25 years ago, I was driving in my car, with a Parliament cigarette in hand, and my youngest son in the back seat. He was five years old at the time, and he just blurted out, “Daddy, I want you to quit smoking!” I was a bit astonished, because no one had ever asked me to quit before. I thought, “Why not?” So I put my cigarette out and threw the pack into the trash bag, and I have not had a cigarette since. It has been a pleasure for me to be a member of the rank of smoking quitters. It is also a pleasure for me to be included at the starting point of a major initiative sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The foundation’s foresight and generosity will allow managed care organisations to do what they can do so very well—integrate preventive techniques, in this case tobacco intervention, into the basic health care of their populations. I want to add my gratitude to the foundation for the opportunities and the hope they are giving to the people served by managed care. I also want to acknowledge the contributions of the other major sponsors to the cause of decreasing tobacco use in managed care—the American Association of Health Plans, The HMO Group, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As healthcare officials and administrators, we have an obligation to do all we can to free our communities of tobacco use. I am proud that we are together today to forge our commitment to action. …