Free nicotine patches for Medi-Cal members


Inyo and Mono Medi-Cal Members Eligible for Free Nicotine Patches

Starting September 30, Medi-Cal members who call the California Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-NO-BUTTS can receive a free, four-week supply of nicotine patches delivered directly to their home. Callers must be 18 or older, have a valid Medi-Cal ID, and enroll in Helpline counseling. If a caller has contraindications, the Helpline will seek medical approval before dispensing.

The Helpline is a free service that helps tobacco users quit. Studies have shown that smokers who use Helpline counseling are twice as likely to quit as those who don’t, and that those who use both counseling and a quitting aid such as nicotine patches quit at the highest rates.

According to recent estimates, the prevalence of smoking among adult Medi-Cal members is more than 36 percent higher than in the general population in California. Nationwide, the cost of treating tobacco-related illness is estimated at 11 percent of total Medicaid program costs.

As an added incentive to use the Helpline, members can receive a $20 gift card bonus. To be eligible, callers must ask for the gift card, have a valid Medi-Cal ID, and complete the first counseling session.

Both the free patches and gift cards are expected to be available through December 2015 as part of the Medi-Cal Incentives to Quit Smoking funded by a grant under the Affordable Care Act.

The Medi-Cal Incentives to Quit Smoking (MIQS) project is funded entirely by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). California received a CMS grant to increase the number of Medi-Cal members who use the California Smokers’ Helpline.

Nancy Mahannah

Health Promotion Division Manager
P.O. Box 3329
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
Fax 760-924-4611<>

When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.   Herophilus


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3 Responses to Free nicotine patches for Medi-Cal members

  1. Tourbillon October 16, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    “Free”? Uh, no. No such thing as “free”. Someone – in this case, the taxpayer – always picks up the tab.

    Call them what they are – gifts, and hopefully well-directed and effective gifts. But do not call them something they are not. Sloppy language betrays sloppy thinking, of which we have more than enough in America.

  2. Dingo October 17, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    I just wish those dang smokers would obey the 20 ft law at entry’s and exits and not exhale their last lung full of carcinogens into the building they are entering to share with everyone
    How does one START smoking anyway, after knowing what we know about cigarettes? That’s even more baffling. Oh well to each his own I guess, I’m addicted to peanut butter.


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