The provincial branch of the Canadian Cancer Society is urging the B.C. government to provide funding for therapies to help smokers quit.

The provincial branch of the Canadian Cancer Society is urging the B.C. government to provide funding for therapies to help smokers quit.

Smokers need government help to quit

Re: National Non-Smoking Week, Jan. 16-22.

The Canadian Cancer Society B.C. and Yukon is calling on the B.C. government to support smokers who wish to quit by providing funding for nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) for smokers trying to quit.  

During National Non-Smoking Week, the B.C. government can reassert British Columbia’s leadership position in tobacco control.  

Smoking cessation products help smokers quit. NRT, such as the nicotine patch and nicotine gum, combined with physician counselling, have a proven record of treating tobacco addiction. Similar improvements in quitting success result from medications that help reduce cravings and minimize withdrawal effects.  

Tobacco use remains the largest single preventable cause of death and disease in B.C., killing more than 6,000 people each year. Tobacco use is estimated to cost the B.C. economy $2.3 billion annually and causes 30 per cent of all cancer deaths and 85 per cent of lung cancer cases.

We commend the B.C. government for continuing to fund QuitNow.ca and QuitNow by Phone, free smoking cessation programs that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to all British Columbians. However, if we know that smoking is an addiction, we should also help pay for treatment for the estimated 70 per cent of smokers who wish to quit.  

B.C. would become the third Canadian province to pay for smoking cessation products. Quebec was first; Saskatchewan the second (for medications only).   

Let’s work together to urge our provincial politicians to support smokers who wish to quit.  

Natasha Raey

Health Promotion – White Rock, Surrey, Delta

Surrey North Delta Leader