Canterbury DHBFriday 11 May 2012, 1:36PM
Media release from Canterbury DHB
Quitting smoking has just got easier for Cantabrians, thanks to
community pharmacies helping people break the habit.
People who smoke and live in Canterbury now have improved access
to subsidised nicotine patches, gum and lozenges.
Since the start of this month (May) community pharmacies have been
able to distribute Quitcards to people who want to quit smoking,
which can be used as vouchers to get a subsidised supply of
nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for only $3.
NRT reduces cigarette cravings and roughly doubles the chances of
David Meates, Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) chief
executive, says community pharmacists are a highly respected
profession and people thinking about quitting are likely to respond
positively to the advice and support they give.
"Pharmacies are perfectly placed to identify people in their
community who want to quit, provide them with patches, gum and
lozenges, and link them with smoking cessation support," Mr Meates
"Giving pharmacists and their staff the ability to distribute
Quitcards and dispense NRT means more of Canterbury's health
professionals have the tools and knowledge to help people quit
smoking. More than 75 percent of smokers want to quit, so
increasing access to NRT can only be a good thing."
Mr Meates says many people in Canterbury turned a blind eye to
smoking after the earthquakes.
"As a community we need to correct the commonly accepted view that
smoking is a valid strategy for coping with stress. In actual fact,
smoking is an addiction that has been shown to increase anxiety,
tension and stress levels. Becoming a Quitcard provider will give
pharmacists and their staff another tool when giving evidence-based
advice that supports people to quit smoking," he says.
To become a Quitcard provider pharmacists and pharmacy staff need
to undertake an e-learning module developed by the Ministry of
Health. So far over 350 pharmacy staff had completed the training
and 70 out of Canterbury's 108 pharmacies have registered to
provide Quitcards and NRT to smokers.