How to Access Prescription Medications or Nicotine Replacement Therapy in BC

doctor and patient reviewing medication

The BC Smoking Cessation Program helps eligible BC residents who wish to stop smoking or using other tobacco products by covering one of two treatment options outlined below:

  • Prescription smoking cessation medications, or
  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products

Please note that the BC Smoking Cessation Program only offers coverage of NRT and/or quit-smoking medications for those looking to quit tobacco products, and that these products are not currently covered for those looking to quit vaping only.

Find out more

What is covered and how to access?

PharmaCare will cover one of two types of drugs:

  • Bupropion (brand name Zyban®)
  • Varenicline generics (brand name Champix® is only covered partially) 

You can get coverage for up to 12 weeks of either of these drugs. Coverage is based on your income level and Pharmacare plan. 

You must be covered by one of these PharmaCare plans: 

  • Fair PharmaCare - Coverage depends on whether you have met your deductible and family maximum 
  • Residential Care (Plan B) - Full cost covered 
  • B.C. Income Assistance (Plan C) - Full cost covered 
  • Psychiatric Medications (Plan G) - Full cost covered 
  • First Nations Health Benefits (Plan W) - Full cost covered 

How to access prescription medications: 

  1. Talk to a healthcare provider to see if smoking cessation drugs are right for you. 

  2. If they prescribe a drug, they will advise you on how best to improve your chances of quitting. 

  3. Fill your prescription at the pharmacy. 

Medication option to access under BC coverage. For NRT go to pharmacy and sign declaration form. For Prescription medication, get a prescription for your health care provider and bring prescription to pharmacy. Get your first month supply!

A note on coverage

Each calendar year (January to December), you can receive one continuous course of either treatment (NRT or prescriptions) of up to 12 weeks (84 days). You will get a month’s supply at a time. The 12 weeks of treatment begin when you fill your first prescription or pick up your first NRT product.

After your first dispense, you have 84 days to request all your remaining prescription or NRT supplies. After that, you will have to wait until the next calendar year before PharmaCare will provide coverage. 

Additionally, if you miss or skip a month during the 84-day period, you will not be able to pick up your remaining supply and will have to wait until the next calendar year to re-start your coverage. 


Questions about symptoms or your health?

Make sure to talk to your health care provider to understand how different medications will interact and about your personal health.

Methods and Medication

Learn about prescription medication, Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), and other methods to help you quit.

Every journey is unique

Your likelihood of success in changing your relationship with tobacco and nicotine DOUBLES when you access supports, find it with us.

Create your plan

Quitting is a process, so let us know where you are on your quit journey. Create you account and set your quit date whenever you feel ready.