Pharmacists Can Help You Quit Smoking


It just got a lot easier to kick the nicotine habit now that products to help you quit smoking are available from your local pharmacy without a prescription.

“Quitting smoking is difficult to do, but important to patient health. Pharmacists can now offer greater assistance to individuals who have decided to quit smoking,” said Virginia Herold, California State Board of Pharmacy executive officer.

Board of Pharmacy regulations went into effect in late January 2016 that allow pharmacists to furnish smoking cessation products without a prescription.  Before they can provide the products, pharmacists are required to complete two hours of approved continuing education on nicotine replacement therapy and must then receive ongoing training.

Before dispensing, your pharmacist must ask questions to determine if nicotine replacement products are safe for you. Your pharmacist will ask about your current tobacco use and attempts to quit; if you’ve suffered a recent heart attack; if you have a history of heart problems; if you have frequent chest pain or unstable angina; or if you have nasal allergies or have been diagnosed with temporal mandibular joint (TMJ). Women will be asked if they are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

A pharmacist will use his or her professional judgment and the responses to your questions to determine whether to furnish the products or refer you to a health care professional.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2014 nearly 17 out of every 100 Americans – or 40 million people – smoked cigarettes. The CDC says cigarette smoking kills 480,000 in the U.S. every year and is the leading cause of preventable disease and death. Along with those deaths, more than 16 million Americans live with smoking-related diseases. Quitting smoking is an important step to improving your health and life expectancy.

Pharmacists received authority to provide nicotine replacement products with the passage of SB 493 (Hernandez). The Board of Pharmacy and Medical Board of California then developed protocols for pharmacists to follow. Ask your pharmacist if he or she can work with you to help you kick the smoking habit and start on a path to better health.

Click here to view the regulation:


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