Tobacco Cessation

Tobacco Cessation

March 7, 2018

Looking to quit using tobacco? Quitting benefits your health and can save you money. Try any of the following resources to make 2018 the year you kick the habit.

Quitline Counseling Services

Quitline is a telephone helpline offering treatment for tobacco addiction. Participants receive information and counseling on quitting smoking through a National Cancer Institute smoking cessation counselor. Callers have access to free nicotine replacement therapy in patch, gum or lozenge form and can also receive motivational text messages to help manage cravings.

During the first call, a quit coach will ask about your quitting history, tobacco use and motivations for quitting. Any information you provide or discuss during a call is confidential. You will use your responses to the coach’s questions to create a “quit plan” that will work for you. A supply of gum, patches or lozenges is available at no cost to participants by calling the Quitline.

To participate, call the Quitline toll-free at (877) YES-QUIT (TTY: (877) 777-6534).

Cessation Treatments

Treatments for quitting tobacco are covered by ERS health insurance plans, including a comprehensive prescription drug program provided by OptumRx. Participants who wish to use a prescription medication will need to discuss their desire to quit with their doctor to determine if medication is medically appropriate.

Choose to Quit is a program that allows tobacco users to have their tobacco-user premiums waived for the plan year. (Program rules apply.)

Expenses related to prescription products, nicotine replacement therapy and counseling can be paid for using your TexFlex flexible spending account. Non-prescription medication and services must have a letter of medical necessity signed by your doctor.

Click on the links below for more information on what resources are available through your health plan.

Note: This article first appeared in The Connection, a newsletter for Texas Health and Human Services (HHSC) staff, which occasionally includes articles about ERS benefits.

Also from HHSC: Your Texas Benefits, at, has been revamped with you in mind. It’s easier than ever to find out what you need to know about programs available to all Texans that may benefit you or your family members.