SIGN ME UP: It's a good time to quit smoking in BC

Want to quit smoking. There
Want to quit smoking. There's plenty of help.
— image credit: Comstock Images/Thinkstock

Smokers who want to make a New Year’s resolution to quit are reminded that help is available from B.C.’s Smoking Cessation Program.

Since the Smoking Cessation Program was launched on Sept. 30, 2011, 161,453 orders for nicotine replacement therapies have been placed through HealthLink BC. As well, over 45,000 people have obtained a prescription for a smoking cessation drug while visiting their physician for another reason.

The program aims to help British Columbians stop smoking by assisting with the cost of smoking cessation aids. Once in each calendar year, B.C. residents enrolled with the Medical Services Plan can receive coverage for a single continuous course, lasting up to 12 weeks, of either a prescribed smoking cessation drug through the PharmaCare program or a free supply of nicotine replacement gum or patches.

While a prescription for a smoking cessation drug can be obtained simply by visiting a physician for another reason, the nicotine replacement therapies can be easily accessed by calling HealthLink BC at 811, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

British Columbians who register with the Smoking Cessation Program are able to receive further web, text and telephone support from QuitNow Services, which is operated by the BC Lung Association. HealthLink BC staff can also transfer callers directly to QuitNow.

While B.C. has the lowest smoking rate in Canada at 14.3%, there are still approximately 550,000 British Columbians who smoke. An estimated 70% of smokers in B.C. want to quit.

Looking for more information on quitting smoking? Visit:

For more information on PharmaCare, visit

For general health-related questions, call HealthLink BC at 811 or visit


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