Health and Community Services

The Newfoundland and Labrador Smoking Cessation Program
for Individuals with Low Income

The Provincial Government is committed to supporting actions that reduce tobacco use and promote healthy living in our communities. As of October 1, 2014, government implemented a new Smoking Cessation Program that provides people with low income with access to two quit smoking drugs, Champix® and Zyban®.

Information for health care providers can be found here .

Quitting smoking is one of the best things a person can do for their health. It is never too late to quit.

Q.     Who is eligible for the program?

A.     Adults aged 18 years and older, who are registered under the Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program (NLPDP) Access, Foundation (Income Support), or 65+ Plans are eligible for coverage under this program. To learn more about NLPDP eligibility, visit the NLPDP website.

Q.     What does the program cover?

A.     The program covers two types of quit smoking drugs, available through prescription: varenicline (Champix®) and bupropion (Zyban®). Coverage is available:

  • for only one of the two drugs
  • for up to 12 continuous weeks (84 days in a row),
  • once every 12 months.
Alternatively, 12 weeks of treatment with Habitrol® nicotine patches can be covered under special authorization if an individual’s other medications interfere with taking Champix or Zyban. Your physician, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist can request special authorization by completing and submitting the Request for Nicotine Replacement Therapy Patches (Habitrol) Form to the Department of Health and Community Services.

Q.     What are smoking cessation prescription drugs?

A.     Health Canada has approved two prescription smoking cessation drugs: Zyban® and Champix®. Both come in pill form and do not contain nicotine but work on the brain to reduce cravings, and other withdrawal symptoms. Zyban® can generally double the odds of quitting smoking successfully, whereas Champix® can double or triple the odds of quitting.

Individuals should speak to their doctor or nurse practitioner to determine if these products (Champix® or Zyban®) are right for them.

Q.     How can an individual get the drugs (Champix® or Zyban®)?

A.     Eligible individuals will need to visit their doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist to discuss whether these drugs can work for them in quitting smoking. If so, then their doctor, nurse practitioner or pharmacist will write a prescription. When an individual fills the prescription, they will need to show their blue and white NLPDP card.

Q.     How much will an individual have to pay towards the cost of Champix® or Zyban®?

A.     Government will pay the majority of the cost for the drugs and dispense fees while the individual will contribute a small amount towards the costs to support their efforts to quit smoking. Please note this program is different from the coverage received under NLPDP. The costs are as follows:

Champix: dispensed twice a month, for three months Zyban: dispensed once a month, for three months
4-week Starter Pack: you pay $15 at pharmacy 1st Dispense: you pay $15 at pharmacy
4-week Continuation Pack (up to 2): you pay $30 at pharmacy for each pack 2nd and 3rd dispense: you pay $30 at pharmacy for each dispense
Habitrol patches (through Special Authorization only): dispensed twice a month, for three months
Each 2-week dispense (up to 6): you pay $12.50 at pharmacy for each dispense

Q.     How can an individual increase their chances of quitting smoking?

A.     An individual can increase their chances of quitting successfully by using a combination of stop smoking drugs, counseling and support.

The NL Lung Association’s Smokers’ Helpline offers free, confidential and convenient telephone and/or web-based counselling to support a person’s efforts to quit smoking. They are located in St. John’s. It’s Your Call - 1-800-363-5864 or www.smokershelp.net .

Health care professionals (e.g., doctor, nurse, or pharmacist), friends, family and co-workers, can provide support and encouragement to you in your effort to quit smoking.

Q.     What are the health benefits of quitting smoking?

A.     Quitting smoking is one of the best things a person can do for their health. The younger a person quits, the greater the benefit, but stopping smoking is beneficial at any age. It’s never too late to quit!

The health benefits start soon after a person smokes their last cigarette. For example, within:

  • 20 minutes - your blood pressure drops to a level similar to what it was before your last cigarette
  • 8 hours - the level of carbon monoxide (a toxic gas) in your blood drops to normal
  • 24 hours - your risk of having a heart attack starts to drop
  • 2 weeks to 3 months - airways in your lungs relax and you can get more air into your lungs and breathe easier
  • 1 to 9 months - you cough less and your lungs work even better
  • 1 year - your added risk of coronary heart disease is half than that of a smoker’s
  • 5 years - you have the same chance of having a stroke as a non-smoker
  • 10 Years - your chance of dying from lung cancer is much lower. So is your chance of getting cancer in your mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and/or pancreas
  • 15 Years - your risk of coronary heart disease is similar to that of a non-smoker

Visit Health Canada’s Smoking and Tobacco webpage for tips on how you can quit smoking and information on nicotine addiction, cost calculation and the risks of smoking.

Q:     Who can I call if I have questions about this new program?

A.     If you have questions about the new Smoking Cessation Program for Individuals with Low Income, please call the NL Lung Association’s Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-363-5864.

 
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