Your Quitting Options

Supportive options

You wouldn’t be the first person to quit smoking by just stopping! It works for some folks, but quitting, or stopping suddenly (“cold turkey”) can be difficult if you don’t have a plan. Don’t worry, it’s okay to ask for help from your friends, partners and family! Consider calling the Smokers’ Help Line for ideas, tips and support. Don’t worry, they won’t preach at you to quit, their Quit Coaches get it and are available 7 days a week. Visit or call the number on cigarette packages 1-877-513-5333. You can also access free counselling with a doctor or nurse trained in helping people stop smoking. 604-875-4800 press 2 for the Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre or email, 6th Floor – 2775 Laurel Street, Vancouver

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

By simply visiting a pharmacy, you can access nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products. Even though nicotine is addictive, NRT doesn’t have the 7,000 chemicals one would find in cigarettes As the nicotine delivery from NRT is slower than from a cigarette (which reaches the addiction centre in the brain in 7 – 10 seconds, making cigarettes very addictive), NRT is safer, healthier and less addictive. This means that using NRT could help you stop smoking cigarettes as you reduce your body’s dependence on nicotine provided you customize the dosage you need.

What is covered: Each calendar year, eligible BC residents can receive coverage for up to 3 months (continuous) of any of the following NRTs:

  • Nicorette® gum (2 mg, 4 mg)
  • Nicorette® lozenges (2 mg, 4 mg)
  • Nicoderm® patch (7 mg, 14 mg, 21 mg)
  • Nicorette® inhaler (10 mg)

How to get it: You now can get your fully covered supply of NRT just by visiting your local pharmacy. Both you and the pharmacist must sign a declaration form. You do not need a prescription from your doctor. Note: However, you may want to talk to your pharmacist or doctor to determine what is the best choice for you. This is especially important if you:

  • are pregnant
  • are HIV positive
  • are breastfeeding
  • are taking testosterone
  • have any chronic medical conditions
  • were recently in the hospital
  • take any regular medications

Who is eligible: Any British Columbian is eligible to receive fully covered NRT who:

  1. smokes or uses another tobacco product
  2. and is currently enrolled with the Medical Services Plan of BC (MSP)

Prescription Medications

Prescription medications do not contain nicotine but reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms by affecting how nicotine interacts with your brain. Using medications can help you quit smoking. It’s even more effective when combined with counselling support. PharmaCare will cover one of two types of drugs:

  • Bupropion (brand name Zyban®)
  • Varenicline (brand name Champix®)

You can get coverage for up to 12 weeks of either of these drugs. Coverage is based on your income level and Pharmacare plan. People who are on Pharmacare plan B, C, W or G are covered for the full cost of the prescription. Those registered for Fair Pharmacare may have to pay part or all of the cost. How to get it: Take a prescription from your doctor to the pharmacy of your choice. Your will be asked to sign a Declaration form. Who is eligible? Prescription drug coverage is available to any BC resident who:

  • smokes or uses another tobacco product
  • is currently enrolled with MSP
  • is covered by an eligible PharmaCare plan

Visit QuitNow to learn more