The Manitoba government is launching what is believed to be the world's first social impact bond aimed at helping people to quit smoking.

Health Minister Cameron Friesen says Shoppers Drug Mart will invest $2 million dollars over five years to provide counseling and products for free to smokers who want to kick the habit.

Friesen says the province will give Shoppers up to $2.1-million if the program meets specific goals including getting up to 4,500 smokers to enroll over a three-year period with a minimum of 12 per cent quitting.

If the Shoppers Drug Mart succeeds, then this bond with the government will make history. It will be the first time in the world that this partnership for better social outcomes with savings going back to the private investor will exist.

Friesen says research shows people have a better chance of quitting if they also get counselling.