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Free support set up for BC smokers to help them quit

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
May 9th, 2011

Nicotine replacement therapies will be available to all British Columbian smokers at no cost and smoking cessation prescription drugs will be covered under PharmaCare.

Starting Sept. 30, British Columbians will have the choice of either nicotine gum or patches to help quit tobacco with a free supply for up to 12 weeks, or obtaining coverage of prescribed smoking cessation drugs through PharmaCare.

The program will cost an estimated $15 million to $25 million, based on the number of individuals who use the program.

Over the coming months, the Ministry of Health will work with groups such as the B.C. Lung Association, the Heart & Stroke Foundation of BC and Yukon, the Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon Division, BC Pharmacy Association, pharmaceutical manufacturers, health authorities and the BC Medical Association on the best way to implement the program, including how to distribute nicotine gum and patches.

 Each year, more than 6,000 British Columbians die from tobacco use. The cost to the B.C. economy is approximately $2.3 billion annually, including $605 million for direct health-care costs.

As part of the consultation, government will look at ensuring the provision of nicotine replacement therapies and smoking cessation prescription drugs is looked at through a rural lens, making sure products are accessible to all B.C. smokers, regardless of where they live.

While B.C. has the lowest smoking rate in Canada at 14.9 per cent, there are approximately 550,000 British Columbians who smoke. An estimated 70 per cent of smokers in B.C. want to quit.

Currently, QuitNow Services offers British Columbian smokers a confidential helpline (1 877 455-2233) with information available in 130 languages and an online quit community where professional and peer support is available 24/7.

As well, quitters can sign up for email quit tips and text messages, join QuitNow’s Twitter and Facebook page and explore interactive quit tools and resources at:


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