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Media Releases Archive

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This section contains media releases released a little while ago. Please note that due to the long time when some of these were released images have been removed and some links might no longer work.

January 15, 2008

Wider access to subsidised Nicotine Replacement Therapy

The Ministry of Health announcement that from February 2008 there will be wider access to subsidised Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is great news for West Coast smokers and their families.

The increased access to the subsidised NRT programme coincides with the introduction of pictorial warnings on cigarette packets in late February, which is expected to increase the number of smokers wishing to give up.

NRT can double a smoker's chance of quitting long term.  The decision to automatically include all GPs, midwives, dentists, optometrists and nurse practitioners in the national Quit Cards (NRT) programme will increase West Coast resident’s access to subsidised Nicotine Replacement Therapy.

Under the scheme, the approximately 6000 West Coast smokers will be able to access a quit card more readily, allowing them to purchase a four-week supply of nicotine patches or gum for a subsidised cost of $5 each.

The West Coast has a smoking rate higher than the national average, with one in four of the West Coast population aged 15 and over being regular smokers compared to one in five nationally.  Maori rates are even higher at two in every five people smoking.

Higher rates of smoking than the national rate are observed across all West Coast age groups, with the highest for those aged 20-24 years where two in every five smoke.

The expansion of subsidised access to Nicotine Replacement Therapy will support DHB’s effort’s to reduce the numbers of West Coasters smoking and hence improve the overall health of our population. 

For further information please contact

Shona McLeod
Research & Planning Analyst
Planning & Funding
West Coast District Health Board
(03) 768 0499, Extn 2641

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