B.C. smokers offered free patches, gum

Premier Christy Clark

B.C. smokers who want to quit can get 12 weeks worth of nicotine gum or patches starting in September.

Premier Christy Clark announced the program in Vancouver Monday, making good on another one of the promises made in her campaign for the leadership of the B.C. Liberal Party.

The program will cover prescription anti-smoking therapies through PharmaCare. The government estimates it will cost between $15 million and $25 million annually, depending on how many smokers take advantage of it.

The B.C. health ministry estimates that 6,000 people die each year from cancer, heart disease and other smoking-related illness. The cost to the B.C. economy is approximately $2.3 billion annually, including $605 million for direct health-care costs.

Clark said the province also collects $682 million in revenue from tobacco taxes, and some of that should be used to help people break their tobacco addiction.

The health ministry will work withthe B.C. Lung Association, the Heart & Stroke Foundation of B.C. and Yukon, the Canadian Cancer Society, B.C. Pharmacy Association, pharmaceutical manufacturers, health authorities and the B.C. Medical Association on the method to implement the program.

“Quitting cold turkey can be tough, and quit smoking aids can help people not only quit but also prevent them having a relapse and starting to smoke again,” said Scott McDonald, CEO of the B.C. Lung Association.

Just Posted

Here’s what Fort St. James councillors refused to hear

Citizens express frustration and anger

Citizens ejected from Municipal Hall – Locked out

Mayor refuses to allow discussion on controversial Bylaw regarding marijuana

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Renewed plea for answers in 40-year-old B.C. cold case

The family of Lawrence Wellington Allard is hoping a private reward will get them some closure

UPDATED: Arrest made after van hits pedestrians in Toronto

Police are not saying what is the extent of injuries yet

B.C. farmland values grew at slower rate in 2017: report

Vancouver Island saw the highest growth in the province

Lt. Governor back in the saddle, with a legacy of land stewardship

Judith Guichon ends term today, returns to Nicola Valley ranch

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Maple Leafs look to stay alive tonight as they face elimination against Boston on home ice

Electric vehicles more affordable than you think: BC Hydro

Myths blocking road to electric vehicle adoption

Kinder Morgan bungled pipeline public relations: poll

The survey suggests 58 per cent of Canadians believe the company is to blame for poor perceptions

Most Read