A change in prescribing rules has cleared the way for Whanganui district pharmacies to offer free patches, lozenges and gum to those wanting to quit smoking.

Most Whanganui district pharmacies have signed up to the scheme and undertaken the required training.

WDHB Service and Business Planning portfolio manager Candace Sixtus said she hoped Whanganui district’s 9000 smokers would seek support to quit for the sake of themselves and their whānau.

“The pharmacy initiative is a wonderful support opportunity for those wanting to quit smoking,” Mrs Sixtus said.

She said despite the annual 10 per cent price rise on January 1, a fifth of New Zealand’s population, which included one in three Māori and one in four Pasifika, continued to smoke.

“Based on $25 a day for a pack of 20 cigarettes, $175 a week, the cost of smoking now sits at around $9200, per year which is a significant sum of money for most people.”

Mrs Sixtus said pharmacies also had the opportunity to refer people to free quit coaching from the regional stop smoking service, Nga Taura Tuhono.

Further options for people wanting to quit smoking were available through general practitioners, Te Oranganui and Quitline.

Source: NZ Herald

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