Remember the days where it seemed everywhere we'd go people were lighting up?
At restaurants, on airplanes, in hospital rooms ... cigarette smoking was widespread, and accepted. In recent years, things have changed. Awareness campaigns touting the ills of smoking and widespread bans have encouraged a number of people to drop the habit.
But, for 87,000 people (20 per cent) in Newfoundland and Labrador, it's still an addiction that won't quit. Despite all efforts, there has not been a significant decline in the smoking rate over the past 10 years. Smoking is an addiction and a serious, chronic condition.
So, how can we help smokers quit? Increasing access to anti-smoking medications and therapies is an important next step.
In a news conference hosted by the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association in November, physicians and other concerned groups, including the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador, called on the province to include tobacco cessation medications and nicotine replacement therapies as a benefit under the Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program for low-income smokers. Evidence shows that the highest proportion of smokers in our province are those with the lowest incomes and the cost of quitting is expensive. Registered nurses support access to therapies and services that will help smokers who are ready to quit and lead healthier lives.
The association of registered nurses believes that helping remove financial barriers limiting smokers from accessing medications and therapies that are proven to help them quit should matter to all of us.
Tobacco-related hospital visits and admissions directly impact wait times and bed availability for you and your family. Join registered nurses, physicians, and others, in calling on the provincial government to fund anti-smoking therapies for low-income residents. We can all be part of the solution to help smokers access proven methods for quitting. We will all benefit from a lower smoking rate.
Tell your MHA that you support this cause. Let's work together to help smokers quit.
Association of Registered Nurses
of Newfoundland and Labrador