One step closer to a smoke free BC: BC government shows leadership in cancer prevention by funding smoking cessation products

VANCOUVER, May 9 /CNW/ - The Canadian Cancer Society B.C. and Yukon today welcomed the provincial government's decision to fund smoking cessation products and nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) for B.C. smokers trying to quit.  B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced nicotine replacement therapies will be made available to smokers at no cost and that the price of smoking cessation prescription drugs will be covered under PharmaCare as of September 30, 2011

"The BC government has taken a significant step forward for cancer prevention and our fight against tobacco," said Cathy Adair, Vice-President of Cancer Control, Canadian Cancer Society BC & Yukon. "Fighting cancer takes a community effort and we want to thank Premier Clark and Health Minister Michael de Jong for their leadership. We look forward to working with them in the coming months to implement this plan and other measures to protect BC families from cancer."

British Columbia will join three other Canadian provinces - Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Ontario - that pay for smoking cessation products.  Each year, more than 6,000 British Columbians die from tobacco use and the cost to the B.C. economy is approximately $2.3 billion annually.

"B.C. has the best cancer outcomes in the country and lowest smoking rates in the country, however, the fact is 12-15 per cent of the population continues to smoke," says Adair. "This step will go a tremendous way to reducing further the number of people who end up fighting lung cancer."

Tobacco is recognized as a major cause of cancer, accounting for more than 85 per cent of lung cancers in Canada.  Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women - in 2011, 26 per cent of all cancer deaths will be attributed to lung cancer in B.C. alone.

"Tobacco use remains the largest single preventable cause of death and disease in British Columbia," says Adair. "NRT combined with physician counselling has a proven track record of treating tobacco addiction. For a small upfront cost, the province will get an incredible return in the form of a healthier population."

Established in 1938, the CCS is as a national charity that provides valuable cancer information services, funds research and educates Canadians on cancer risks. In BC and the Yukon, the Society works with approximately 20,000 volunteers in close to 100 communities.

SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society (BC and Yukon Division)

For further information:

Catherine Loiacono
Manager, Media Relations
Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon Division
Direct line: 604.675.7340 Cell: 604.837.5643

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Canadian Cancer Society (BC and Yukon Division)

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