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The Philippines is the second country in the world and the first in Southeast Asia to receive Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) as part of the global Access Initiative for Quitting Tobacco (AIQT).

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently donated 315,000 NRT patches to the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP). This is enough to provide 4,500 high-risk smokers with an 8-week supply of Nicorette InvisiPatch that will support them to quit tobacco use.

NRT Patches

The AIQT aims to help the world’s 1.3 billion smokers with the tools and support they need to quit the habit for good. It is being led by the WHO, together with the UN Interagency Task Force on Non-communicable Diseases, PATH, and the Coalition for Access to NCD Medicines and Products, with support from the private sector.

Recently, global healthcare company Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health* committed to donate NRT to AIQT to advance the global smoking cessation agenda worldwide amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence reveals that smokers are more likely than non-smokers to have severe outcomes from COVID-19.

“As a company, our commitment to our patients and our community remains strong especially during these changing times,” said Johnson & Johnson Philippines President and Managing Director Raghu Krishnan. “We are proud to be part of this initiative and to be working together with the World Health Organization and our local healthcare partners. With this donation, we hope to empower more Filipino smokers as they navigate towards living a healthier lifestyle, as well as move the needle in the right direction towards a more holistic approach for smoking cessation.”

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2015 (GATS 2015), there are currently 16.5 million smokers in the Philippines. Over 3 out of 4 (77%) of them consider or plan on quitting, but only 4% are successful in doing so. This posed a large concern for WHO and the Department of Health, especially with the threat of the coronavirus still greatly affecting the country.

“Smoking has always been known as a significant risk factor for serious diseases, but its impact has become an even greater worry for us now with the continuing transmission of COVID-19,” said Dr Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO Representative to the Philippines. “The Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) patches can boost the existing tools that we have as we support smokers to commit to quit.”

The donation of the patches will be complemented with support from smoking cessation experts from the recipient hospitals to help manage their physical, social and mental challenges of quitting throughout the program.

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raindeocampo

Writer, Wanderer, Child of God

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