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Make Nicotine replacement treatments available where cigarettes can be purchased

Comment 20th June 2020

The government is backing a "quid smoking" agenda and one area I think would make a difference is the following:

Cigarettes remain ubiquitous; a smoker can buy cigarettes 247 should they wish to. They can buy cigarettes in newsagents, fuel stations, supermarkets, pubs etc etc.

However there is a major problem in the country in that Nicotine Replacement Therapies (Nicotine gum, lozenges etc) can only be purchased from limited vendors at limited opening times. NRT is available in all chemists and main super markets (not all of them, and some have limited stock), which is great, however they are not all typically 247. Some petrol stations sell NRT, however I have noticed a decline in them offering it to the point where I don't currently know a petrol station where I can get Nicotine Gum.

It is a frustrating problem when, to give an example, a person quitting smoking is in a pub in the evening and they run out of Gum. Any smoker or ex-smoker will tell you that Nicotine craving increases when consuming alcohol. The individual is unable to purchase a new pack of Nicotine gum in the pub – however they can buy cigarettes. Most likely there won't be a chemist or super market open late in the evening and chances are the local 24 hour petrol station has stopped stocking NRT. So, this leaves them with a dilemma and with best will power and best endeavours could potentially crack and go to the vending machine an buy cigarettes.

What I am proposing is that to support the "quit smoking" agenda the government pass a law which enforces that vendors who sell cigarettes must also provide an alternative option of NRT. This will ensure those trying to quit smoking are supported by the government in the same way the government support smokers, by licensing cigarette sales in many many outlets.


Why does this matter?

Quitting smoking is difficult, very very difficult. It is very easy to fall off the wagon and go back to smoking. Having to really go out of your way to get hold of NRT is inconvenient and not always practical. However it is easy to get cigarettes where ever you are. This idea is important because:

1. It means those quitting smoking with bubbler never have a problem getting hold of NRT wherever they are or when

2. It demonstrates the Government is serious about helping people quit smoking

3. Having NRT next to cigarettes in shops etc might be the trigger to prompt someone not to order cigarettes, but to order gum or patches etc.

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