Governments should pay for smoking cessation therapies: Canadian researchers

Aug 30, 2010

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."

Explore further: AMA examines economic impact of physicians

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

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Smoking cessation therapies more effective than placebos

Jul 14, 2008

Six treatments for smoking cessation perform better than placebos — including varenicline (Chantix®), recently approved for use in Canada — states a team of researchers from McGill University and the University of Montreal ...

Not ready to quit? Try cutting back

Dec 07, 2006

In a review article in the December Nicotine and Tobacco Research, researchers at the University of Vermont have found an unexpected, effective alternative to motivate smokers to quit smoking – cutting back. According to ...

Recommended for you

AMA examines economic impact of physicians

13 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Physicians who mainly engage in patient care contribute a total of $1.6 trillion in economic output, according to the American Medical Association (AMA)'s Economic Impact Study.

Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds

13 hours ago

Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her ...

How to keep your fitness goals on track

14 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The New Year's resolutions many made to get fit have stalled by now. And one expert thinks that's because many people set their goals too high.

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Finnish inventor rethinks design of the axe

(Phys.org) —Finnish inventor Heikki Kärnä is the man behind the Vipukirves Leveraxe, which is a precision tool for splitting firewood. He designed the tool to make the job easier and more efficient, with ...

Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans

Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 ...