Government to foot bill to stop people smoking

In an effort to reduce the number of smokers in Portugal, the Ministry of Health has confirmed it plans to start paying for prescription drugs to help people kick the habit. But there’s a catch.

Smokers will have to pay for the drugs themselves – and only once they have kicked the habit will they be able to ask the government for reimbursement.

They will then have to prove that they no longer smoke – although how they do this has not yet been explained.

And because the effectiveness of anti-smoking medicine is “relative”, the government will also have to implement “other measures” to help the country’s legions of smokers stub-out, assistant secretary of state for health Fernando Leal da Costa told Público.

Costa also said he hopes the European Union will approve directives that allow the use of “shocking images” on cigarette packs.

Elsewhere, the Directorate General for Health (DGS) is soon to launch a campaign warning of the side-effects of passive smoking – the inhalation of somebody else’s cigarette smoke.

According to a recent report, around 11,000 people die every year in Portugal from smoking.