Prevention Minnesota - BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota
What We're Doing : Stop smoking - and stay stopped : Program elements  

Resources for quitting: counseling and medication

Related Items
Blue Cross' Stop-Smoking Support (pdf) Stop-Smoking Support en espanol (pdf) QUITPLAN® resources for Minnesota residents QuitCard Counseling for Minnesotans (pdf) (pdf) Minnesota Smoking Cessation Resources Directory American Lung Association: quit smoking resources Nationwide Resources
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Stop-smoking assistance can involve counseling or medication or both. Some people use one or the other. Some use both. The combination of counseling plus medication improves the chances of quitting successfully.

Four stop-smoking counseling options

Counseling helps people plan to quit smoking in a way that will increase their chances of success. Discussions with a tobacco treatment specialist help the individual to develop a plan for quitting that reflects his or her specific situation.

The four primary ways in which stop-smoking counseling can be delivered are:

  • Phone-based
  • Face to face
  • Group
  • Internet-based

Phone-based stop-smoking counseling

This is the most common and most widely available type of counseling. Every U.S. resident now has access to some form of phone-based counseling to provide quit-smoking help.


For Blue Cross members.
Blue Cross' stop-smoking support has helped thousands of Blue Cross members quit smoking. The program is available at no cost to all Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota members.


This interactive 12-month program is designed to help all tobacco users quit coach who works with each person to develop a plan tailored to that individual's situation.

To get started, call 1-888-662-BLUE (2583) between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Central Time, any day of the week.


For other Minnesotans.
Minnesota residents who are not Blue Cross members can check the “Quit Card” in the What’s related section of this page to find the phone number for their health plan’s stop-smoking program. The card also includes the phone number for QUITPLAN®, the resource for uninsured and underinsured Minnesota residents. The QUITPLAN phone number is 1-888-354-PLAN.



For other U.S. residents.
Other U.S. residents who are looking for help to stop smoking can call 1-800-QUITNOW or log onto to learn what resources are available in any state.


Face-to-face counseling

Some physicians offer individual stop-smoking counseling, either as part of a regular office visit or as a separately scheduled visit. Coverage for such counseling varies by health plan and by employer.

ClearWay Minnesota(SM) also sponsors QUITPLAN Centers that offer one-on-one counseling in various health care locations.

Group counseling

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation maintains an online directory of stop-smoking resources in Minnesota that includes both group and individual programs. Resources are listed by county. Locations, times and fees vary.

ClearWay Minnesota sponsors QUITPLAN at Work, a program that provides group counseling services for employees at their place of employment.

The American Lung Association, Minnesota Chapter, conducts group programs in the Twin Cities metro area.

Internet-based counseling

Minnesota residents have no-cost access to, an internet-based stop-smoking resource.

Other U.S. residents can log onto, which offers both free general advice, and also a fee-based option, which gives access to individual counseling feedback.

Stop-smoking medication options

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved five types of nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patch, oral inhaler, nasal spray, and lozenge). The FDA also approves bupropion (marketed as Zyban), and varenicline (marketed as Chantix) as quit-support medication. Bupropion and vareniclinecontain no nicotine and can be used in combination with a nicotine replacement therapy. Some of those medications are now available over the counter.

Quit-support medication for Blue Cross members

Many Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota members have coverage for all of the FDA-approved quit support medications as part of their pharmacy benefit. Blue Cross members who are part of fully insured groups (those employers for whom Blue Cross determines benefits) have this coverage.

Some groups that self-insure with Blue Cross also choose to include either the entire quit-smoking medication benefit or a partial benefit.

In most circumstances, a physician’s prescription is required to activate this benefit. That is true whether the medication is an over-the-counter medication or a prescription only medication.

Blue Cross members can contact customer service either by phone or on the web to determine what stop-smoking medication coverage they may have. Copays and deductibles typically apply.

Quit-support medication for other individuals

Some employers, health plans and state-wide quit lines have full or partial coverage for certain quit-support medications. It’s worth checking.