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Help Advance Research And Quit Smoking At The Same Time

Clipped From The St.Catharines Standard Newspaper

Niagara smokers could get free medication to help them kick the habit by joining a landmark Ontario study.

Niagara’s public health department will be screening local smokers for eligibility in the Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients study, the first of its kind in Canada.

The study, which started last year, tracks the most effective means to quit smoking, said Linda Rix, Niagara’s manager of tobacco programs.

“I really would like to see a high turnout,” she said.

“This is a great opportunity for smokers who want to stop … but don’t necessarily have the means to help pay for these (nicotine replacement therapy) products.”

Residents approved for the study receive nicotine gum, patches or inhalers for up to five weeks to help battle their addiction.

The provincewide study, which started in 2006 with 13,000 participants, is sponsored by Ontario’s Ministry of Health Promotion and run by Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Last year, about 1,600 study participants quit smoking for at least six months. It’s not known if Niagarans participated in 2006.

Up to 15,000 people are expected to join the next stage of the study.

Nationwide, slightly fewer than five million Canadians, about 19 per cent of the population aged 15 or older, were smokers last year.

Rix urged local smokers to apply, but added not everyone is eligible.

Study members must be 18 or older, smoke at least 10 cigarettes a day and can’t be pregnant or breast-feeding.

Interested residents must call the public health department first to ensure they meet the study requirements, said Rix.

Eligible residents may be invited to one of two education sessions Dec. 18 in St. Catharines and Fort Erie.

(The public health department is helping to screen residents, but isn’t involved in study decisions.)

Those who join the study receive both nicotine replacement medication and counselling with a pharmacist, Rix said.

Researchers will follow the smokers over a year to gauge their success.

Information about individual participants will be kept confidential and used only to evaluate different methods of nicotine replacement therapy.

For more information, call the public health department at 905-688-8248, ext. 7342.

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2 Responses
  1. […] Niagara Blog put up a good read today.Here’s a quick excerpt:Clipped From The St. Catharines Standard Newspaper Niagara smokers could get free medication to help them kick the habit by joining a landmark Ontario study…. […]

  2. Erik says:

    Is this available in USA?

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