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Nicotine Replacement Therapy will be cheaper

Media Release

31 October 2001

Nicotine Replacement Therapy will be cheaper

Nicotine replacement patches and gum will be cheaper for smokers who want to quit when changes to the National Subsidised Nicotine Patches and Gum Programme are introduced on November 1.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Mary McCulloch said currently a smoker trying to quit pays $10 for one month's supply of nicotine replacement therapy.

"From November 1 a smoker trying to quit will generally pay $5 for the first four weeks and $10 for the second four weeks of nicotine replacement therapy.

"By lowering the cost of nicotine replacement therapy we are giving smokers the best possible chance to quit smoking."

The change is part of an ongoing review of the subsidised quit smoking programme and has resulted in improvements for the programme, Ms McCulloch added.

"If these products were not subsidised it would cost those wanting to quit up to $125 a month to buy them," Ms McCulloch said.

After November 1 all unexpired NRT exchange cards can be redeemed from a pharmacist for the new copayment price of $5 per product. Any existing $10 exchange cards will be redeemed at the new prices until they have all expired.

The subsidised nicotine patches and gum programme is delivered through the national freephone service Quitline, or via registered smoking cessation providers in the community.

Since the Quitline programme started 66,630 people have registered as wanting to quit and most of these have taken the appropriate steps to access nicotine replacement therapy.

On average 1400 people per month access nicotine replacement therapy through health providers.

There are approximately 700,000 smokers in New Zealand and around 4700 New Zealanders die early from smoking-related illnesses each year.

ENDS

For more information contact: Hayley Brock Media Advisor (04) 496 2115, 025 495 989 http://www.moh.govt.nz


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