The US Food and Drug Administration has approved seven medications for tobacco cessation, and the law requires health plans to provide these at no cost to their members.
You can purchase nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) patches, gum, and/or lozenges from a drug store or pharmacy without a prescription, but you may need a prescription to be reimbursed. NRT inhalers and nasal sprays require a prescription, regardless, and your health plan may require you to try other medications first. The two non-nicotine medications, bupropion and varenicline (Chantix®), also require a prescription.
Research shows that combining the nicotine patch with the nicotine gum or lozenge increases quit rates; the gum or lozenge helps with cravings, while the patch helps with nicotine withdrawal. Use of bupropion with NRT is also an option. Whatever medication(s) you use, research shows that combining counseling with medication results in higher quit rates than either counseling or medication alone.
You may be able to have medication shipped to you, for free, when you enroll in a counseling program through the Washington State Quitline. Read more about counseling to find the best phone number to call. Or, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) with your health insurance information.
In general, if you have:
- No health insurance, you can get at least two weeks of free nicotine patches from the Quitline, but you will need to enroll in a counseling program.
- Apple Health (Medicaid), you may be able to have NRT shipped to you, but you will need your ProviderOne information to enroll in a counseling program.
- Medicare, you should be able to get prescription medications from your provider, but you can also call the Quitline to get at least two weeks of free nicotine patches.
- Private insurance, your benefit depends on your health plan. Contact your health insurance carrier (or employer, if applicable) for details or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW with your plan information.
If your health plan does not cover tobacco cessation medications, you can file a complaint with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
If you don't have health insurance, you can find a health insurance plan using the Washington Health Plan Finder.
You can also try free self-help options.