Letters to the Editor

Make 2013 the year you quit – with help

Smokers who want to make a New Year’s resolution to quit are reminded that help is available from B.C.’s Smoking Cessation Program.

Quitting smoking can be the best thing you can do for your health as it will reduce health risks like cancer, heart disease and asthma. There are a range of  supports in place through B.C.’s Smoking Cessation Program, and accessing them can be as simple as calling 811.

Since the Smoking Cessation Program was launched on Sept. 30, 2011, 161,453 orders for nicotine replacement therapies have been placed through HealthLink BC. As well, more than 45,000 people have obtained a prescription for a smoking-cessation drug.

The program aims to help British Columbians stop smoking by assisting with the cost of smoking cessation aids. Once in each calendar year, B.C. residents enrolled with the Medical Services Plan can receive coverage for a single continuous course, lasting up to 12 weeks, of either a prescribed smoking cessation drug through the PharmaCare program, or a free supply of nicotine replacement gum or patches.

A prescription for a smoking-cessation drug can be obtained simply by visiting a physician, and the nicotine-replacement therapies can be accessed by calling HealthLink BC at 811, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Smoking increases many health risks, including lung cancer, throat and oral cancer, heart disease, stroke and emphysema. Quitting smoking and reducing exposure to second-hand smoke greatly improves both quality of life and lifespan.

British Columbians who register with the Smoking Cessation Program are able to receive further web, text and telephone support from QuitNow Services (QuitNow), which is operated by the BC Lung Association. HealthLink BC staff can also transfer callers directly to QuitNow.

Learn more at: www.health.gov.bc.ca/pharmacare/stop-smoking/ and www.quitnow.ca

Margaret MacDiarmid, B.C. Health Minister

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