VANCOUVER, Jan. 14 /CNW/ - The provincial government is being asked to
take the next step in the fight against smoking by providing funding
for nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) for those British Columbia
smokers trying to quit.
"Tobacco use remains the largest single preventable cause of death and
disease in British Columbia," says Barbara Kaminsky, the CEO of the
Canadian Cancer Society, B.C. & Yukon. "In advance of National
non-smoking week (January 16 - 22, 2011), the provincial government can
reassert British Columbia's leadership position in tobacco control."
The Canadian Cancer Society, B.C. & Yukon is calling on the British
Columbia government to introduce new regulations to cover costs of
smoking cessation products and NRT for B.C. smokers trying to quit.
"While our province has the best cancer outcomes in the country, this
step would go a tremendous way to reducing still further the number of
people who end up fighting cancer," adds Kaminsky.
British Columbia would become the third Canadian province to pay for
smoking cessation products. Quebec was the first; Saskatchewan the
"Addicted smokers should be supported when they make a decision to try
and quit, improve their health and prevent cancer," says Kaminsky. "NRT
combined with physician counseling have a proven track record of
treating tobacco addiction. For a small upfront cost, the province gets
an incredible return in the form of a healthier population."
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.
"Second-hand smoke is linked to the death of up to 140 British
Columbians each year." says Kaminsky. "Providing people with the tools
to quit smoking will payoff in the long run and help end a terrible
Cigarette smoking causes about 30 per cent of cancer deaths in Canada
and about 85 per cent of lung cancer cases. Lung cancer remains the
leading cause of cancer death for both men and women. Although, B.C.'s
smoking rates are at 15 per cent, one of the lowest in the country, 26
per cent of all cancer deaths in BC will be attributed to lung cancer
"While we have made great strides in this fight together, more work
needs to be done," says Kaminsky. "Not supporting people who want to
quit sends a mixed message to smokers and to those most at risk to
begin smoking: young people. If we know smoking is an addiction, why
won't we help pay for treatment for the estimated 70 per cent of
smokers who wish to quit?"
Kaminsky also commends the B.C. government for continuing to fund free
24-hour smoking cessation programs through QuitNow.ca and QuitNow by
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 CCS works with
approximately 20,000 volunteers in close to 100 communities.
SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society (BC and Yukon Division)
For further information:
Manager, Media Relations
Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon Division
Direct line: 604.675.7340 Cell: 604.837.5643