Smokers from across the province will have the opportunity to enroll in the STOP (Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients) program and will receive nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) free of charge to help in their attempt to quit smoking.
For many smokers, the cost of nicotine replacement products is a barrier to quitting, say organizers. The evidence-based STOP program provides five weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy, a practical support for alleviation of nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
People must go through a screening process to determine if they are eligible.
The STOP Program is conducted by the CAMH and is funded by the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport as part of its Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy.
In addition to providing NRT, STOP will offer educational material to encourage the program participants to make broader changes that can improve their health even more, because often smoking does not occur in isolation, but rather accompanies other risk factors for disease, such as poor nutrition and lack of physical activity.
Introduced in 2005 through a partnership between CAMH and the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport, the STOP program has already provided nicotine replacement therapy, such as nicotine gum and patches as well as bupropion and varenicline free of charge.
Baseline questionnaires and follow-up surveys, spaced over six months post treatment will help the STOP program researchers learn more about the long-term impact of providing nicotine replacement therapy and other smoking cessation aid free of charge to smokers across Ontario. To date, results for STOP participants have shown an improvement of at least two times the typical quit rates, according to organizers.