Substance Abuse

UK’s NHS to Distribute Free Nicotine Patches

The National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom is kicking off 2011 through a New Year’s campaign that aims to improve the health of the nation. The campaign, according to a feature on The Telegraph, involves the distribution of free nicotine patches.

nicotine patchThe program will most probably be welcomed by UK citizens who will make kicking their smoking habits as their New Year’s resolution.

Cigarette smoking, according to the feature, is the “biggest single cause of illness and premature death in Britain.” In order to address this, the NHS is distributing at least a million anti-smoking kits, free of charge, at pharmacies and GP surgeries. These kits will include nicotine replacement patches, a first for NHS.

The distribution of nicotine patches, however, is but part of a major New Year health drive. The other half of the campaign is called “Change4Life,” a £250 million scheme that will provide 5 million “voucher checkbooks,” for cheap gym and swimming lessons.

The two campaigns take advantage of the fact that many people will be setting fitness and health resolutions and goals around New Year’s Day. The Telegraph quoted a coalition source, who reportedly said: “This is an absolutely key thing for us – a major part of the Big Society program. The main thing is not to order people to get fit, or to set meaningless targets like Labor did, but to help persuade people to take action off their own bat.”

The Change4Life checkbooks will contain 20 “healthy lifestyle” vouchers, which will entitle the bearers to various offers, which include cheaper gym and pool use.

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