Whanganui pharmacies offer free support for smokers wanting to quit


27 February 2018

A recent change in prescribing rules has cleared the way for Whanganui district pharmacies to offer free patches, lozenges and gum to those wanting to quit smoking.

Thanks to a decision made by Pharmac last year, smokers can now walk into a pharmacy nationwide and ask for all three items without a doctor’s script. Most Whanganui district pharmacies have signed up to the scheme and most have undertaken the required training.

WDHB Service and Business Planning portfolio manager Candace Sixtus says she hopes Whanganui district’s 9000 smokers will seek support to quit for the sake of themselves and their whānau. “The pharmacy initiative is a wonderful support opportunity for those wanting to quit smoking,” Mrs Sixtus says.

“Despite the annual 10 percent price rises on 1 January, a fifth of our population (which includes one in three Māori and one in four Pasifika) continue to smoke.

“Based on $25 a day for a pack of 20 cigarettes ($175 a week), the cost of smoking now sits at around $9200 per year which is a significant sum of money for most people.”

Mrs Sixtus says pharmacies also have the opportunity to refer people to free quit coaching from the regional stop smoking service, Nga Taura Tuhono.

Further options for people wanting to quit smoking are available through general practitioners, Te Oranganui and Quitline.