Smokers will receive extra motivation to quit from tomorrow with nicotine patches being listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme - slashing their price.
Quit Executive Director Fiona Sharkie said it was especially good timing for those smokers who made the new year's resolution to quit smoking.
"Some of those people will be successfully smoke-free now but there will also be some who have gone back to smoking. This is a great opportunity for those people to try to quit again and be successful," Ms Sharkie said.
"If you smoke about 15 cigarettes a day at the moment and you quit in February, you will save around $3,000 by the end of the year. That's enough for a fantastic trip away or a new entertainment system."
"People who use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) are twice as likely as those who quit unassisted to quit successfully, so make an appointment with your doctor and give it a go. You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain."
At the moment, the cost of a four-week course of nicotine patches is between $100 and $140 - with even the smallest available pack of patches costing two to three times as much as a pack of cigarettes.
When subsidised, smokers who obtain a doctor's prescription for patches will receive a four-week course for approximately $34.20, or $5.60 if they hold a concession card.
Patches will only be available for the cheaper price with a doctor's prescription, not over-the-counter.
"The subsidy is available to all smokers, but is especially important for those in low-income groups who have smoking rates more than twice that of the general population - but little access to NRT because of its cost," Ms Sharkie said.
"Research suggests subsidised NRT can increase the number of smokers using the products to help them quit, and the number who have a successful quit attempt, so this subsidy is a great way to help bring down smoking rates in Australia"
Notes to Editors:
- Smokers are eligible to receive 12 weeks supply of nicotine patches per year
- Half of all long-term smokers will die because of their smoking
- 15,000 Australians die from smoking every year
- Smokers wanting to quit can get more information at http://www.quit.org.au/ and by calling the Quitline on 13 QUIT (7848)
ph: (03) 9635 5498
mob: 0438 714 264