Taxpayers are coughing up to wean Mana’s school kids off nicotine

March 24, 2011

"Damn - I missed out on the free condoms but the quit smoking lark is worth a shot."

Alf’s mate Bill English shouldn’t have to look too far for savings, as he grapples to write a budget that must meet the heavy spending demands of Christchurch’s reconstruction.

They are little savings, in many cases, but they are savings nevertheless and little savings add up.

For example, Alf observes (indignantly) that taxpayers are coughing up to help nicotine-addicted pupils at Mana College in Porirua.

The pupils can get patches, gum and lozenges from the school nurse to help them kick the smoking habit.

The school nurse has been registered as a Quit Group provider, a programme funded by the Health Ministry, which means she can provide cigarette substitutes to pupils, if they pass an assessment, as well as other coaching.

“When [an opportunity] comes along like that … we would be foolish not to take advantage of it,” principal Mike Webster said.

In other words, if the money is up for grabs, then grab it.

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