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," said Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid. "There are a range of supports in place through our Smoking Cessation Program, and accessing them can be as simple as calling 8-1-1."
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, over 45,000 people have obtained a prescription for a smoking cessation drug while visiting their physician for another reason.
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. While a prescription for a smoking cessation drug can be obtained simply by visiting a physician for another reason, the nicotine replacement therapies can be easily accessed by calling HealthLink BC at 8-1-1, 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. For long-term smokers, it's never a bad time to quit. By quitting smoking, British Columbians are taking active steps towards making the healthy choice, the easy choice for themselves and their families. Quitting smoking and reducing exposure to second-hand smoke greatly improves both quality of life and lifespan.
"There has never been a better time to quit smoking, with QuitNow offering a variety of tools that greatly complement the Smoking Cessation Program and help British Columbians to quit," said BC Lung Association CEO Scott McDonald.
"Choose to make a positive impact on your health this holiday season. Cancer prevention depends on healthy living and healthy public policies," said Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon, CEO Barbara Kaminsky. "I applaud British Columbians who have taken the important next step and chosen the Smoking Cessation Program."
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.
While B.C. has the lowest smoking rate in Canada at 14.3 per cent, there are still approximately 550,000 British Columbians who smoke. An estimated 70 per cent of smokers in B.C. want to quit.
Looking for more information on quitting smoking? Please visit: www.health.gov.bc.ca/pharmacare/stop-smoking/
Looking for support or information on how to plan quitting? Check out: www.quitnow.ca
For more information on the PharmaCare program, visit: www.health.gov.bc.ca/pharmacare/
For general health-related questions, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 or visit: www.healthlinkbc.ca/
For audio and video of Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid, please visit the following link: http://sendtonews.com?SK=a5T6i5zC9b
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)