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NHS quit kits get nicotine patches

Smokers are to be offered a week's worth of free nicotine patches by the NHS, the Department of Health has announced.

Coupons for the patches, which give people nicotine without the cancerous chemicals found in cigarettes, will be included in the health service's stop-smoking kits in the new year.

The chance of successfully quitting is said to double through the use of the patches.

Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, said: "January is the most popular time of year to try and quit smoking. To give smokers some extra help, we've launched a new quit kit with a free one-week trial of NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) patches.

"Smoking costs the NHS billions every year and can cost a 20-a-day smoker around £2,000 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. By the end of March, Superdrug and some independent pharmacies will stock the new kits.

People who cannot find a participating pharmacy in their area will be able to order online.

The patches included in the kit will be either NiQuitin Clear 21mg patches or Nicotinell TTS 30 21mg/24 hour patches, Step 1.

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