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Smokers to get free nicotine patches.

Summary: Free nicotine patches are to be offered on the NHS as part of a major drive to help smokers quit their habit in the New Year.

Free nicotine patches are to be offered on the NHS as part of a major drive to help smokers quit their habit in the New Year.

Coupons giving smokers a week's free trial of the patches will be added to "Quit Kits" for the first time, the Department of Health announced.

The kits, which also contain items such as calming audio downloads and "health and wealth" wheels showing the benefits of giving up, will be available at participating pharmacies across the country.

The Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) patches work by gradually releasing nicotine into the bloodstream without the cancer-causing substances found in cigarettes.

Smokers can double their chances of giving up successfully by using them, and research shows that two-thirds of smokers want to stop.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "Smoking costs the NHS billions every year and can cost a 20-a-day smoker around Au2,000 a year, so giving smokers help to quit not only improves their health, but saves them and the NHS money."

From January 1, the kits will be at Co-operative and Whitworth pharmacies and later at Sainsbury's, Tesco and Manichem pharmacies, followed by Superdrug and a range of independent pharmacies in February and March.

There are around eight million smokers in England, half of whom can expect to die of a smoking-related illness.

Latest figures show that there were 1,825,306 attempts by smokers to quit between January and March this year.

Independent Television News Limited 2010. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Dec 30, 2010
Words:289
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