Maria Luisa Carcedo, the acting Minister for Health here in Spain, announced in New York that for the first time the government will finance the use of one of the most effective pharmaceuticals in helping smokers to kick the habit.
Champix as it’s commonly known on the high street, currently only available on paid prescription, will be free as the Spanish health minister attempts to break the smoking habits of Spain which cost the Government millions of euros each year in treating patients with smoking related diseases.
Spain, where ciggies still only cost between 4 to 5 euros for a packet of twenty has one of the highest rates of people in Europe still smoking whilst other countries like the UK have seen a large decrease.
UK Government taxes have priced smoking out the market place for many with cigarettes now on the shelves at around £11 a packet.
Spain though is to adopt a new tactic, offering smokers the free treatment.
Champix is a simple treatment that weans a smoker off the habit and has a proven track record.
Smokers take a daily tablet whilst they continue to smoke for around 7 days and find themselves extinguishing cigarettes early in the first stages to the point they “don’t fancy a fag” and become to detest the taste and smell leading to them quitting the habit.
The course of tablets lasts up to 2 months even after the smoker has had their last ciggie, ensuring they don’t crave the habit.
Pharmacies around Spain are starting to prepare for an influx of orders after the Governments announcement.