When it comes to smoking, it's good to be a quitter.
Pharmacists are effective in providing a smoking cessation program and contributing to patient quit rates. They help smokers quit by providing behavioural counselling, creating quit plans, recommending nicotine replacement therapy and scheduling follow-up visits.
Smoking is a risk factor for many disease states and its adverse effects contribute to cancer, lung disease, cardiovascular disease and other health risks.
The longer you’ve quit, the more you get...
- 20 minutes - your heart rate drops towards a normal level
- 8 hours - carbon monoxide level drops in your body and oxygen level in your blood increase to normal
- 48 hours - your sense of smell and taste improves
- 72 hours - breathing becomes easier
- 2 weeks - the nicotine is gone from your body
- 1 year - your risk of heart disease is half of what it used to be before you became a quitter
- 10 years - your risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half
Many insurers recognize the value of pharmacists supporting patients who want to quit smoking. The community pharmacist is familiar with the drug therapy needs of their patients, they are key advisors to the public in areas of wellness and they are accessible across the province.
Medavie Blue Cross - Some patients have the Managing Chronic Disease Benefit which includes smoking cessation services with pharmacists that have completed the PANS training program and registered with Medavie. Some patients may also have smoking cessation benefits within their prescription plan, paramedical plan or health care spending account.
As of January 3rd, 2019 we are aware of the following coverage for smoking cessation:
- Greenshield (for all Greenshield plans) – full coverage, not subject to co-pay but only available once per year
- Plans that provide for healthcare spending accounts – Pharmacists are healthcare providers for the purposes of these accounts, so patients can submit their receipts for reimbursement unless a particular plan has specifically excluded pharmacy services from coverage
- Pharmacare has approved coverage for buproprion and varenicline for 12 weeks (medications that a pharmacist can prescribe to assist with quitting smoking).
Cost of these programs vary by pharmacy.