Ontario Medical Association Statement on Smoking Cessation Drugs

TORONTO, February 14, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Ontario's doctors were pleased to learn that the Ontario government is considering covering the cost of smoking cessation drugs. These medications are proven to at least double the success rates for people who want to quit when other approaches don't work.

Ontario's doctors have been strong advocates and long-time supporters of providing smoking cessation drugs to patients who want to quit, but can't afford the drugs that can help them. For over two years, Ontario's doctors have called for the addition of these smoking cessation medications to the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan and including them in other public and private insurance plans in order to reach the patients who need this help.

The negative impact that tobacco products and cigarettes have on our health-care system and society is no secret. Tobacco related disease currently costs the Ontario health system $1.6 billion annually and kills more than 13,000 Ontarians every year. Which is why earlier this year, Ontario's doctors included several key recommendations in our provincial election platform, "Better care. Healthier patients. A stronger Ontario." In addition to a broader cessation system, Ontario's doctors are calling for a reduction in the number of tobacco outlets; a moratorium on sale of new tobacco products; and a comprehensive contraband control strategy.

As physicians, we want to help our patients quit smoking. We believe that providing medicines that can help them quit will pay big dividends for their health, and ultimately save our health-care system much more money in the end.