Smoking cessation items should be funded by gov’t

Editor, The Record:

Re: National Non-Smoking Week, Jan. 16-22.

The Canadian Cancer Society BC and Yukon is calling on the B.C. government and Liberal leadership candidates to support smokers who wish to quit by providing funding for nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) for those British Columbia smokers trying to quit.

During this week, the B.C. government can reassert the province’s leadership position in tobacco control.

Smoking cessation products help smokers quit. NRT, such as the nicotine patch and nicotine gum, combined with physician counseling have a proven record of treating tobacco addiction. Similar improvements in quitting success result from medications that help reduce cravings and minimize withdrawal effects.

Tobacco use remains the largest single preventable cause of death and disease here, killing more than 6,000 British Columbians annually. Tobacco use is estimated to cost the B.C. economy $2.3 billion annually and causes 30 per cent of all cancer deaths and 85 per cent of lung cancer cases.

We commend the B.C. government for continuing to fund and QuitNow by Phone, free smoking cessation programs that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to all British Columbians. However, if we know that smoking is an addiction, we should also help pay for treatment for the estimated 70 per cent of smokers who wish to quit.

British Columbia would become the third Canadian province to pay for smoking cessation products.

Let’s work together to urge our provincial politicians to support smokers who wish to quit.

Mandip Kharod-Clark

Health Promotion Coordinator

Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission and Hope