RACGP backs listing of smoking cessation medicine

Royal Australian College of GPs

The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) has thrown its support behind a new drug that can help people quit smoking.

It comes following Australia’s chief medicine and therapeutic regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, receiving a private application to schedule the drug Cytisine as a potential medicine for smoking cessation.

RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said the medicine could make a real difference.

“There has never been a more important time to help people quit nicotine products, including cigarettes and nicotine vaping products,” she said.

“Unfortunately, some of the approved medications for smoking cessation, including nicotine replacement therapy options like patches, are set to be removed from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in a few months’ time. We have asked federal Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler to step in to prevent the possible removal of nicotine patches from the public scheme. Otherwise, we will regress in our fight against nicotine use in Australia.

“In the meantime, approving this new medicine Cytisine, will also play a key role in helping patients quit nicotine. At a time where our world-leading efforts to reduce smoking cessation are under threat from the spectre of more and more people, including young people, taking up nicotine vaping, we need additional tools in our smoking and vaping cessation toolbox.”

Dr Higgins said that Cytisine was not an unknown quantity.

“This medicine has a proven track record in smoking cessation, it has minimal side effects, and it is sorely needed to tackle the ongoing battle of nicotine addiction, particularly among our youth,” she said.

“It has been safely used in eastern Europe for smoking cessation since the 1960s. So, we support the application for this medicine to be scheduled as a smoking cessation aid and we continue to urge the Government to step in and prevent the removal of nicotine patches from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

“If you, or someone you know, wants to quit nicotine – please consult with your GP. We have the strategies, advice, and medicines available to help you along every step of the way. Once you quit smoking, you will feel so much better, and so relieved you took that first step of booking an appointment with your trusted GP. It could be the best decision you ever make.”


/Public Release.