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City footing bill for 54 patients in nicotine replacement therapy

The Vices Regulation Unit (VRU) has enrolled 54 patients in the nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) program, as part of the overall goal of making Davao City a smoke-free environment.

Dr. Ashley Lopez, VRU officer-in-charge, told TIMES in a phone interview yesterday that the individuals underwent a series of therapy sessions with behavioral counseling since October 2019.

Eight of these clients were recorded as successful quitters after 12 weeks of session, while the therapy for the rest is still ongoing.

“Out of the 720 boxes of nicotine pastilles allocated to VRU, 648 were boxes were already distributed and consumed by these patients,” Lopez said.

The VRU head said that they will keep monitoring the patients who have successfully passed their 12-week therapy session to make sure they do not relapse.

The unit already decentralized the therapy process down to the health centers as district health officers in the city completed training for the NRT last November 2019.

“Before, I was the only one who was trained on this kind of therapy,” he said, explaining that the training is provided by World Health Organization representatives here in the country.

The NRT which comes in a pastille form is an effort of the VRU to assist nicotine dependents to quit smoking. The therapy program is also in line with the smoking cessation program of the Department of Health.

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