Quitting your smoking habit is a tough addiction to shake. Luckily, there are many state programs available to help you! Depending on where you live and your health conditions, you may qualify for various free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in the form of patches, gum, or lozenges.
These effective methods have been shown to make quitting smoking easier for many and can literally help add years to your life. NRTs have been shown to help stop smoking cigarettes, e-cigs, cigars, and every other way nicotine is consumed.
Tobacco users who use quitline services are 60% more likely to successfully quit compared to those who attempt to quit without help. The United States Community Preventative Services Taskforce recommends quitline interventions based on 71 study trials of telephone counseling that show their effectiveness. source
Medications for Tobacco Use Cessation
There are three nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) available over the counter, which are also the three most likely free NRTs offered by your state.
- Nicotine patch – You place these on the skin. They're ideal for long-lasting craving relief as they gradually releases nicotine into your bloodstream.
- Nicotine gum – Chewing gum that releases nicotine. It's a helpful way to reduce cravings that allows you to control your dosage.
- Nicotine lozenge – Eaten in the mouth like hard candy. They offer the same benefits of gum without the chewing.
Of the states offering free NRTs, almost every single one of them offered nicotine patches. I'd say most offered at least one of the other options, with maybe half in total offering all three for free.
A few select states offer Nicorette-type items. I just realized Nicorette is a combo of nicotine and cigarette. I wonder if other companies follow that pattern. Let's see. Gillette: gilled gazette. Triscuit: tricky biscuit. Kinkos: kinky hoes? Yeah, I don't think this is panning out.
There are four additional medications available by prescriptions, only a very few of which are given away on the state level for free.
- Nicotine nasal spray
- Nicotine inhaler
- Buproprion SR (brand name: Wellbutrin or Zyban) – contains no nicotine
- Varenicline (brand name: Chantix) – contains no nicotine
While my research wasn't exhaustive, I only found a few states offering these methods for free. Delaware offers all four (spray, inhaler, Buproprion, and Varenicline) while Nevada offers the spray and inhaler. Finally, I think South Dakota and Wyoming offer Buproprion.
Below I've listed out every state along with info on getting your free NRTs.
If you prefer getting help and free resources by phone, then try 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). This toll-free number will connect you directly to your state quit line. All 50 states have quit lines staffed with trained coaches who provide information and help with quitting.
All of these state programs have both telephone and online coaching to help motivate you and answer any questions you have, such as what are the nicotine patches side effects or what's the best nicotine patches dosing, etc.
Free Nicotine Patches, Gum, and Lozenges by State
To help fight your addiction, almost every state offers free quitting kits, classes, coaching, and actual NRTs.
Note: Most states offering free nicotine quitting tools require you to be at least 18 years old. As such, I only list age requirements below when they differ from 18+ minimums.
Also, if you end up down the gum route, make sure you don't accidentally get it confused with your normal gum. My dad once had these and I'm not a smoker, so it was a bit of a shock when I ate some garlic bread one afternoon and borrowed a piece of gum to get the flavor out of my mouth. Next time, I think I'll just stick with the garlic breath.
- Alabama – Free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is available for eligible tobacco users participating in telephone or online coaching.
- Alaska – Free NRT after enrolling in a multi-call program.
- Arizona – Free NRT by joining the Quit Coaching program.
- Arkansas – Must be ready to quit within 30 days and you can get free nicotine patches and lozenges.
- California – Parents of children under 5 years of age and/or pregnant women with MD approval may be eligible for two weeks of free nicotine patches, with up to one refill.
- Colorado – Join the QuitLine phone or online program to get free NRT.
- Connecticut – Get two weeks NRT products for setting a quit date and enrolling in multi-call counseling program.
- Delaware – Eligible low-income callers can get free vouchers to purchase stop-smoking aids such as nicotine patches or gum.
- Florida – There are 4 different ways to get 2-4 weeks of nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges.
- Georgia – While supplies last, receive a free, 4-week supply of nicotine gum or patches to Georgia residents.
- Hawaii – This is another multiple call program, but it offers anywhere from 2-8 weeks of free patches, gum, or lozenges. Insured & Medicare are eligible for 2 weeks of free NRT, while Medicaid gets 4 weeks and those uninsured get up to 8 weeks.
- Idaho – Free nicotine gum, lozenges, or patches subject to eligibility.
- Illinois – Along with counseling, get up to six weeks of free NRT to eligible (i.e., not pregnant, no heart conditions) clients, and uninsured or have limited coverage.
- Indiana – The uninsured or those on Medicaid or Medicare can get patches or gum.
- Iowa – Supposedly up to 8 weeks of free NRT for those uninsured or on Medicaid , but I'm having trouble confirming this.
- Kansas – It seems Kansas is the first state on our list not to offer any free NRT whatsoever.
- Kentucky – Uninsured or Medicare recipients can get free nicotine replacement therapy during a four-week program.
- Louisiana – Their phone program provides for the reimbursement of NRT, Telephone Quit Line Services, Office Visits and Counseling.
- Maine – Eligible Maine Tobacco HelpLine multi-call program participants may receive up to 8 weeks of NRT, such as patches, gum or lozenges, for no charge every 6 months.
- Maryland – Ability to order a free four week supply of NRT online.
- Massachusetts – In addition to counseling, the Smoker’s Helpline offers patients a free 2-week starter kit of nicotine patches.
- Michigan – Must be uninsured, a resident of the state, and have no contraindications. Get free gum, lozenges or patches via their phone program.
- Minnesota – Get two weeks free of NRT patches, gum, and lozenges.
- Mississippi – Up to 8 weeks free NRT eligible tobacco users participating in telephone or online coaching.
- Missouri – If you are uninsured, you may be eligible to receive a free supply of nicotine gum or patches to help jump-start your efforts to quit smoking.
- Montana – 8 weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patches or lozenges) available for callers who enroll in a free phone program.
- Nebraska – Free two-week supply of over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy.
- Nevada – Depending on your insurance, you may qualify for free NRT plus inhalers or spray.
- New Hampshire – QuitNow-NH offers no-cost Nicotine Gum, Patches and Lozenges to all NH residents when available.
- New Jersey – Qualified clients are offered a 2 week starter kit of free Nicotine Replacement Therapy patches.
- New Mexico – Sign up for a personal Quit Plan and get free gum, patches, and lozenges while supplies last.
- New York – Free NRT smoker starter kits to eligible New Yorkers.
- North Carolina – I believe uninsured people can get free patches and nicotine gum.
- North Dakota – Free 2-month supply of the nicotine patch, nicotine gum or nicotine lozenge to anyone who enrolls in NDQuits counseling and is uninsured or does not have cessation medication coverage through their health plan.
- Ohio – Free NRT after enrolling in a multi-call program, but again, I'm having trouble confirming this 100%.
- Oklahoma – Depending on your qualifications, get 2-8 weeks of free patches, gum, or lozenges.
- Oregon – Can get free patches or gum for having no contraindications and qualifying.
- Pennsylvania – Qualified callers can get up to 8 weeks of free patches.
- Rhode Island – Free NRT in 6-week supplies of gum, patches, or lozenges.
- South Carolina – Free nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges to South Carolinians who enroll in Quitline services.
- South Dakota – 2-week NRT kickstart kit comes with free patches, gum, or lozenges.
- Tennessee – While Tennessee has free quitting tools, it seems they don't offer any NRT.
- Texas – Participants must pass a health screening to gain access to free NRT. If you're uninsured, you also qualify.
- Utah – Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy for eligible callers.
- Vermont – Get between 2 and 8 weeks of free nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges mailed straight to your house.
- Virginia – It does not appear that Virginia offers any sort of free NRT.
- Washington – Their Quitline and most other telephone counseling services will ship NRT medication to callers at low or no cost.
- Washington DC – Possible free NRT, though I'm having trouble nailing down the details.
- West Virginia – Residents are eligible for eight weeks of free NRT patches, gum or lozenges by enrolling in four Quitline coaching calls.
- Wisconsin – Their Quit Line provides a starter pack of quit smoking medications like nicotine gum, patches, and lozenges.
- Wyoming – Free patches and gum by calling or texting their quit line.