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

Marine Harvest Upper Island Riptide U18 Girls bring home provincial gold

“This has been an extra-ordinary season with a diverse group of young ladies…”

Port Alice considers taking back Link River

Village debates not renewing agreement with RDMW

Living with obsessive compulsive disorder

The Big Read: Vancouver Island mom calls for more mental health services as son battles OCD

Port Alice Community Market open for business

The community market has been a draw to members of the community, as well as to tourists.

Sea otter tours offer unique opportunity to explore Neroutsos Inlet

“We saw sea otters, seals, eagles, some deer, and some history.”

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

Fishin’ Corner: The Deserters Group is a pretty good early chinook producer

“This year salmon fishing has been pretty good, with the average size spring around 20-25 lbs.”

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Activists protest outside Kinder Morgan terminal in kayaks, canoes

Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George led the water ceremony from a traditional Coast Salish canoe

Canadian soccer fans brace for World Cup final between France, Croatia

First ever final for the Croatians, while it’s France’s third, going into match as betting favourite

Most Read