Smoking cessation trial prompts call for subsidies on wider range of quit therapies

May 29, 2014 by Dr Brent Caldwell
Smoking cessation trial prompts call for subsidies on wider range of quit therapies
Dr Brent Caldwell

Community smoking-cessation workers are calling for the government to subsidise a wider range of nicotine replacement therapies so that smokers can afford to use products that are proving to be more popular and effective for those trying to quit.

A University of Otago Wellington trial has been offering smokers the chance to try therapies through kiosks in community locations throughout the lower North Island, such as malls, since January. Smokers can take a free sample of a week's supply of as many as they like, and are supported by expert cessation workers through regular follow-up at the community location or over the phone. Lead researcher Dr Brent Caldwell says several hundred smokers have taken up the spur-of-the-moment chance to try at the stalls, with the vast majority choosing the nicotine inhalator and nicotine mouthspray.

However cost remains a huge barrier once people have used up their free supply of these popular products, he says.

Many people are willing to pay the ongoing cost of the products, but many more are choosing not to buy further products after they get their free one, he says.

Dr Caldwell has surveyed 61 cessation workers from throughout the lower North Island, who say the QuickMist mouthspray and inhalator should be subsidised just like standard nicotine replacement therapies, so that all Kiwi smokers can have ready access to them.

The survey found that at least half of the smokers treated by cessation workers had told them they wished they could use something other than the standard therapies of the patch, gum, and lozenge.

The cessation workers reported that more than three quarters of their patients would benefit from access to the inhalator and mouthspray. Nearly all workers (98%) thought that these products should be subsidised as part of the Quit Card program, which gives smokers access to nicotine replacement therapy at the subsidised price of $5.

Their call comes ahead of World Smokefree Day this Saturday 31 May.

A petition at the kiosk locations is being planned to ask the Ministry of Health to subsidise the mouthspray and inhalator.

"It's really hard for smokers to spend money on nicotine replacement therapy, because most cannot immediately switch from buying cigarettes to buying the therapies, and for a period of time they need to buy both the cigarettes and therapies," Dr Caldwell says.

"Once they quit smoking and only need to buy the therapies, they will save a lot of money, but at least initially when they are smoking and using therapy at the same time it can be more expensive which might be a barrier for some people."

Explore further: Study finds that smokers who try e-cigarettes to quit are younger and more motivated to quit

Related Stories

Want to stop smoking? See a specialist

December 20, 2013

Smokers in England who want to stop smoking are three times more likely to succeed if they see a trained advisor than if they try by themselves, according to a new study published online today in the medical journal Addiction. ...

E-cigarettes can help smokers to quit, new research shows

May 20, 2014

People attempting to quit smoking without professional help are approximately 60% more likely to report succeeding if they use e-cigarettes than if they use willpower alone or over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies ...

Tips for quitting smoking in 2014

January 13, 2014

Many smokers make kicking the habit their top New Year's resolution. It's a popular goal, so much so that there are more former smokers in the U.S.—nearly 50 million—than current smokers, according to the Centers for ...

Recommended for you

Exercise and vitamin D better together for heart health

April 27, 2017

Johns Hopkins researchers report that an analysis of survey responses and health records of more than 10,000 American adults for nearly 20 years suggests a "synergistic" link between exercise and good vitamin D levels in ...

'Diet' products can make you fat, study shows

April 25, 2017

High-fat foods are often the primary target when fighting obesity, but sugar-laden "diet" foods could be contributing to unwanted weight gain as well, according to a new study from the University of Georgia.


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.