Governments should pay for smoking cessation therapies: Canadian researchers

August 30, 2010, Canadian Medical Association Journal

Canada should follow the lead of Quebec, Australia and the United Kingdom by publicly funding smoking cessation pharmacotherapies, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Some 5.5 million Canadians (19% of the population) currently use tobacco, a number that has not decreased in recent years. A 2009 review of studies indicates that full financial reimbursement of smoking cessation medications significantly improves one-year abstinence rates among all smokers. And those who quit live, on average, an additional four years. Fully funding these tools in Canada could result in a gain of 1.9 million life-years, at a cost of $220 for every life-year gained, which is a bargain compared with other health interventions.

Currently, only Quebec publicly funds all smoking cessation pharmacotherapies, and only the Yukon and Prince Edward Island reimburse for at least one product. In Australia and the United Kingdom reimbursement is available without restriction for all products, including prescription medications and over-the-counter . In the United States, these products are reimbursed by Veterans Affairs and Part D Medicare.

The editorial writers propose immediately including smoking cessation therapies in all provincial drug formularies so that smokers over the age of 65 and those receiving social assistance can have free access. Then "follow the lead of other countries and reimburse therapies for everyone," write Erika D. Penz and Braden J. Manns of the University of Calgary, Dr. Matthew B. Stanbrook, Deputy Editor Scientific and Dr. Paul Hebert, Editor-in-Chief. "An appropriate source of funding for this is obvious: the substantial tax revenues collected with the sale of every tobacco product."

More information: www.cmaj.ca/cgi/doi/10.1503/cmaj.101140

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.