Smokers will pay a lot less to try out anti-smoking aids from the 1st of February. They will also be reimbursed for three attempts to quit every five years, Public Health minister Maggie De Block announced on Saturday.
“Anti-smoking aids can help smokers beat their addiction, but the price was a big issue for some people. We are therefore increasing the amount patients are reimbursed, which is great for everyone who has made quitting smoking in 2019 their New Year’s resolution”, says Mrs De Block.
Smokers trying to quit have to buy a starter kit, which they have to test for two weeks before they can access a full course of anti-smoking aids. Up until now patients had to pay the full price for this kit, which costs 49,95 euros. From the 1st of February, the total bill for patients with the maximum level of reimbursement will be 9,80 euros. Everyone else will pay 14,80 euros.
Smokers will get three complete courses reimbursed every five years, instead of two courses in total like before. “This means a smoker who didn’t manage to give up after three attempts in five years will have three new courses reimbursed too”, the minister says. “Some people manage to quit more easily than others. One thing is clear: the chance of success increases with each attempt”, she says.
14,761 smokers were prescribed anti-smoking aids in 2017, compared to 20,051 in 2016.
The introduction of a neutral cigarette packet, another federal government anti-smoking measure, is still underway. “A European notification was necessary. Italy and Cimabel (the Federation of Belgo-Luxemburg cigarette producers) have argued it, which has delayed things until the 11th of May 2019. We can then continue to work on it and publish the royal decree as soon as possible”, the minister’s cabinet says.