The Department of Health is expanding its second-generation “quit smoking” project to include 1,000 pharmacies as designated locations where smokers can obtain smoking cessation drugs.
The program, which began on March 1, offers up to 16 weeks of medical subsidies to smokers who seek assistance at these clinics.
“The department is scheduled to expand the second-generation smoking cessation project in September, at the earliest, to give drivers and domestic workers who have a smoking problem access to cessation drugs subsidized by the government in a more convenient manner,” Bureau of Health Promotion Director-General Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said.
Since a large number of smokers are too busy with work to go for outpatient treatment at cessation clinics, the expansion would entitle licensed pharmacists to supply a variety of cessation drugs listed as over-the-counter medication to people seeking to quit smoking, Chiou said.
The ultimate goal of the department is to include 1,000 drugstores in the program, Chiou said, adding that the objective would be fulfilled in stages to make the drugs more accessible to smokers to help end their addiction.
Taiwan Pharmacist Association secretary-general Eric Tseng (曾中龍) said that pharmacists working at the drugstores would be obligated to complete a 48-hour training program on quitting smoking, which would be offered on weekends at several pharmacist associations across the country in the near future.