QuitBucks Program Now Offering Smokers Lozenges

For Immediate Release: September 5, 2003

Contact: Karen Garbarino
Tobacco Control Chief
Vermont Department of Health
802-951-4004
kgarbar@vdh.state.vt.us

Mark Ray
Kelliher Samets Volk
802.862.8261
mray@ksvc.com

BURLINGTON—The Vermont Department of Health “Quit Bucks” program now offers nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) lozenges free or at a reduced rate to qualified smokers who want an alternative to chewing nicotine gum.

The FDA-approved product is used as a stand-alone smoking cessation aid or in combination with a transdermal patch. The NRT lozenges typically cost between $40–50 for a two-week dose when purchased at a drug store, but are available free as part of the Quit Bucks program to Vermonters who qualify through the Vermont Health Access Plan (VHAP), Medicare, Ladies First, or who are uninsured.

According to a study published last June in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the NRT lozenge is “a safe and effective new treatment for smoking cessation.” Typically, the NRT lozenges are preferred over gum by smokers who have dentures, jaw or mouth dysfunction, poor (or no) teeth as well as those who do not like to chew gum.

“There are lots of people in Vermont who just can’t or won’t chew gum but still need help to battle nicotine cravings,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Paul Jarris. “It’s already tough enough to quit smoking, so we’re happy to have the NRT lozenges as an additional tool in our fight against tobacco.”

“The new lozenges are designed to provide relief from nicotine cravings, and may be preferred by smokers who have tried other therapies without success,” said Dr. John Hughes, professor, department of Psychiatry, University of Vermont.

Quitting smoking is one of the healthiest lifestyle changes a person can make, but it is also one of the most difficult. It takes most smokers 5 to 7 attempts before they are able to quit successfully. Services such as the Vermont Quit Line are available to help Vermonters beat these odds. Vermonters who want to learn more about the Quit Bucks program and resources available can call the Vermont Quit Line toll-free at 1-877-YES-QUIT, or 1-877-937-7848.

According to the Vermont Department of Health, approximately 96,000 adult Vermonters smoke and an estimated 1,000 die annually from smoking-related diseases including heart disease and cancer. The Vermont Department of Health aims to cut the number of adult Vermont smokers in half by 2010.