The Department of Health in Taiwan will launch a second-generation cessation treatment trial program on March 1st to help 3.5 million smokers quit smoking. They will receive pharmaceutical reimbursement as the copayment standards of National Health Insurance for a maximum of 16 weeks annually at cessation clinics. The Health Department expects 180,000 smokers to benefit from the program after they have successfully quit smoking can result in substantial return nearly NT$19 billion on investment for medical expense and from loss of life reduction among Taiwan Society.
The Director General of the Bureau of Health Promotion Dr. Shu-Ti Chiou (邱淑媞) stated that there are many kinds of cessation drugs, like patches, gum, inhaler, lozenge, spray, and that the weekly pharmaceutical expenditure reported to the Bureau of National Health Insurance is about NT$500 to over NT$1,000 per person. After the new Program is implemented, the expenditure of cessation services will be funded by the budget from the balance of Tobacco Health and Welfare Surcharge in previous year. If a smoker saves up to NT$750 per week, NT$12,000 can be saved per year.
She pointed out that, the Bureau extended the current weekly medical subsidy limitation for drugs, a maximum of NT$250 per week with maximum 2 weeks, to minimize or eliminate the economic barriers to quit smoking that amount of cessation drugs co-payment more than cigarettes and to attract more smokers to seek help at cessation clinics. Smokers will get a maximum of 16-week medical subsidies annually by paying only the registration fee and partial drug expense.
the average successful quit rate
Dr. Chiou emphasized, if smokers successfully quit, their families will also stay healthy from the harms of second-hand smoke. Based on the average successful quit rate of 25% per time, estimated 45,000 smokers successfully quit in 180,000 smokers who will participate in the program will contribute to a long-term economic benefit of NT$19 billion. Next year, an estimated 260,000 participants will lead to an economic benefit of NT$27.3 billion. It’s definitely a win-win investment for our country.
In addition, to ensure the success of quit, the Second Generation Tobacco Cessation Program introduces, for the first time, services such as individual cases for their 3-month and 6month telephone follow-up evaluations in person or over the phone by hospitals and individual counseling. The latter is scheduled to come into effect this July because it involves certificate acquirement and training of the Counselors.