To start off the new year the federal government has achieved another milestone in their fight against cancer and crusade against smoking. From 1 January 2012 the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will be extended to include additional listings for nicotine patches to all eligible individuals.

While the higher strength patches are already listed on the scheme the addition of these lower-strength nicotine patches, the 14 and 7 milligrams (Nicotinell Step 2 & Step 3), ensures they are affordable for all patients. Until this point nicotine replacement therapy was only available to selected Australians, indigenous patients and those on low-income, but this opens the door for more Australians to take-up a commitment to quit smoking.

The supply of nicotine patches on the PBS requires a prescription from a medical practitioner or authorised nurse practitioner. They will be available as a 12 week supply in each year, which contains one original script plus two repeats.

Further information and support to quit smoking can be found on the quitnow website.