The provincial government has announced that it will be running Quit Smoking with Your Manitoba Pharmacist, a program designed to help those addicted to smoking kick the habit.

Mental Health and Community Wellness Minister Sarah Guillemard and Health Minister Audrey Gordon made the announcement, saying the social bond program will have up to 4,500 Manitobans enrol over three years. Those that partake will be helped by one of 500 pharmacists who are trained in ways to help people quit smoking.

"This social impact bond is the first of its kind in Manitoba and a unique opportunity to support people throughout our province as they become non-smokers," said Guillemard. "About 220,000 Manitobans currently smoke, causing short-term and long-term health effects for themselves and those around them. The costs of smoking – to the individual and their health and our healthcare system as a whole – are significant. Manitoba is a proud partner in this initiative and the positive benefits it will have for thousands of people."

The success will be measured by the number of people who quit smoking for a full year, then are able to stay away from nicotine for two years. Manitobans that are 18 or older are eligible to enrol, with counseling sessions and up to $100 worth of prescribed medications becoming available after the initial assessment.

"Quitting smoking is difficult and most people need to try more than once to be able to quit successfully," said Gordon. "The goal of Quit Smoking with Your Manitoba Pharmacist is to increase the success rate of people who are ready to quit by making it convenient to access the right supports and resources at their local pharmacies."

For the full press release from the government of Manitoba, click here.