Thursday 19 September 2019

More people ask for help to quit smoking, insurers say

The number of people requesting help to stop smoking has soared, with the biggest three health insurance companies all reporting a sharp rise, the AD said on Monday.

Last year, 40,000 people asked VGZ, CZ or Menzis to fund a course or medication to try to quit, the paper said. In 2012, just 3,200 people made a similar request.

Research by the Trimbos addiction centre also shows more people are asking for help. Last year, some 37% of smokers had a go at quitting smoking, up from 34% in 2014.

The Netherlands still has 3.1 million smokers, of whom 465,000 smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day. Some 20% to 30% of attempts to stop smoking after a course are successful.

Trimbos spokesman Marc Willemsen said he expects the number of people asking their insurance company to pay for a course will soar in 2020, when help to quit smoking will be excluded from the €385 own risk element.

‘That cost is a serious obstacle to people who need serious help,’ he said. ‘They cannot afford it.’

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