FREE nicotine products & drugs

The B.C. Smoking Cessation Program helps British Columbians stop smoking by assisting them with the cost of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products like nicotine gum or patch or prescription drugs like Varenicline (Champix) or bupropion (Zyban).

How does the program work?

The BC Smoking Cessation Program covers two cessation treatment options:

Option 1 - Non-prescription Nicotine Replacement Therapy(NRT)

As of January 1, 2016, the B.C. Smoking Cessation Program covers:

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

Each calendar year, eligible B.C. residents can receive a single continuous course of treatment (up to 12 weeks or 84 days in a row) with NRTs.

What you have to do

You now can get free NRT just by visiting your local pharmacy. Both you and the pharmacist must sign a declaration form.

Note: You can get NRT products without seeing your doctor or being registered for PharmaCare. However, you may want to talk to your pharmacist or doctor to determine whether they are the best choice for you. This is important if you:

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

Tip: If you are taking prescription medications or have health issues (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, kidney disease, breathing problems, or pregnancy), talk to your doctor and pharmacist before you start any smoking cessation treatment.  That way, your doctor and pharmacist can take this into account when caring for your other health issues.

Before visiting your pharmacist, use our NRT Assessment Tool.

Option 2 - Prescription Drugs:

PharmaCare will cover one of two types of drugs:

  1. Bupropion (brand name Zyban®)
  2. Varenicline (brand name Champix®)

You can get coverage for 12 weeks of prescription drugs (Champix® or Zyban®) but coverage is based on your income level and Pharmacare Plan. People who are on Pharmacare Plan B, C, or G are totally covered for the full cost of the prescription. Those eligible for Fair Pharmacare may have to pay part or all of the cost.

What you have to do

Take a prescription from your doctor to the pharmacy of your choice. Your will be asked to sign a Declaration form.

Who is eligible?

Different rules apply depending on whether you want to use the nicotine gum or patch or whether you want prescription drugs.

Nicotine replacement therapy is available to any BC resident who:

  • smokes or uses another tobacco product
  • is actively enrolled with the Medical Services Plan of BC (MSP)

Prescription drug coverage is available to any BC resident who:

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

Will there be a cost?

The rules for nicotine replacement therapy differ from prescription drug costs.

For nicotine patch and gum:

The following nicotine replacement therapies are 100% covered and there is NO cost for eligible BC residents:

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

For prescription drugs:

You will NOT have to pay for prescription drugs if you are registered in one of the following PharmaCare plans:  
  • Permanent Residents of Licensed Residential Care Facilities plan (Plan B)
  • Recipients of B.C. Income Assistance plan (Plan C)
  • No-Charge Psychiatric Medication plan (Plan G)
If you are registered for Fair PharmaCare you might have to pay part or even all of the cost of these drugs depending on whether you have met your family`s annual deductible and family maximums.

If you aren't sure, call PharmaCare from Vancouver at 604-683-7151 and from the rest of BC, call toll-free at 1-800-663-7100.

Register for Fair PharmaCare either online or by phoning Health Insurance BC. Registration is free and there are no premiums to pay.

Visit the Government Website

The provincial government's BC Smoking Cessation website provides additional details about about:     

  • How the BC Smoking Cessation Program works
  • What drugs and nicotine gum and patches are covered
  • How much coverage you can get in a year
  • How to get started (including info you need to provide)
  • How to get refills