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California Smokers' Helpline & Stater Bros. Super Rx Pharmacies Partner to Help Smokers Quit

Posted by Kristin Harms

Jul 2, 2018 11:02:00 AM

Pharmacist-Patient-ImageSan Bernardino, California (July 9, 2018) – To help smokers overcome nicotine addiction, Stater Bros. Super Rx Pharmacies will provide NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) to qualifying individuals. NRT can be provided without a physician’s prescription due to California law (Senate Bill 493) which includes a protocol that allows pharmacists to prescribe NRT just as physicians do. NRT is covered by most insurance and a prescription can be coordinated at one of the 24 local Stater Bros. Super Rx Pharmacies. For a list of Stater Bros. Super Rx Pharmacy locations, visit staterbros.com.

In collaboration with the California Smokers’ Helpline, Stater Bros. Pharmacists will also assist customers by providing referrals to the free, evidence-based smoking cessation services available from the California Smokers’ Helpline. Upon referral, the California Smokers’ Helpline will call patients to offer free telephone counseling, self-help materials, and referral to local cessation resources. Services are available in multiple languages including English and Spanish.

“We are pleased to work in collaboration with California Smokers Helpline to provide assistance to individuals seeking to overcome nicotine addiction,” stated Pete Van Helden, Stater Bros. CEO.

“The California Smokers’ Helpline applauds the efforts of Stater Bros. Super Rx Pharmacies to increase patient access to nicotine replacement therapy, an evidence-based strategy for helping smokers quit,” stated Shu-Hong Zhu, Ph.D., Director of the Helpline and Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego.

Stater Bros. Super Rx Pharmacy is committed to offering healthy living programs for its customers, such as FREE prenatal vitamins to expectant mothers during the upcoming month of May which is “Pregnancy Awareness Month”. Recently, Stater Bros. Super Rx Pharmacies improved their $4/$10 generic program by offering additional tiers. These tiers consist of an $8 and $12 offering and bring over 350 commonly prescribed medications to the program in order to add value for their customers.

About California Smokers’ Helpline

The California Smokers’ Helpline (1-800-NO-BUTTS) is a free statewide quit smoking service, operated by the University of California San Diego and proven in clinical trials to double a smoker’s chance of success. The Helpline offers self-help materials, referral to local programs, and one-on-one, telephone counseling in multiple languages including English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and Vietnamese. Specialized services are also available for teens, pregnant women, and tobacco chewers as well as for friends and family members of tobacco users. New services include online chat, a texting program, and a mobile app. For more information, visit www.nobutts.org.

About Stater Bros. Markets

Stater Bros. was founded in 1936 in Yucaipa, California, and has grown steadily through the years to become the largest privately owned Supermarket Chain in Southern California and the largest private employer in both San Bernardino County and Riverside County. The Company currently operates 171 Supermarkets, and there are approximately 18,000 members of the Stater Bros. Supermarket Family. Since 2008, Stater Bros. and Stater Bros. Charities have contributed more than $80 million in food and funds to local Southern California communities. For more information, visit staterbros.com.

Contact Information

Marisa Kutansky
Director of Communications
Stater Brothers
P.O. Box 150
San Bernardino, CA 92402
(909) 733-5038

Pharmacists Can Help Smokers Quit Under California Law

Posted by Megan Maddox

Jun 9, 2017 12:05:02 PM

SB 493 Expands Scope of Practice for Licensed Pharmacists

Pharmacist-Patient-Image.jpgIn 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 493, authored by Senator Ed Hernandez, which for the first time ever, acknowledged pharmacists as legitimate healthcare providers and had also expanded the scope of practice for pharmacists to offer more patient care services beyond their most familiar function of drug dispensing. SB 493 was introduced in the Legislature as a response to the State’s physician shortage, especially after California had expanded coverage to millions of people under the Affordable Care Act.

One of the critical expanded authorities that came from SB 493 was the ability for all licensed pharmacists in the State to provide and offer nicotine replacement products for smoking cessation. Prior to SB 493, providing nicotine replacement therapy was limited to pharmacists who worked in either an inpatient setting or an integrated system.

Pharmacists Can Better Assist Patients with Smoking Cessation

Pharmacists who provide nicotine replacement therapy are not just selling the nicotine replacement products themselves, but they are also assisting patients with tobacco cessation using patient specific interventions, including referring patients to quitlines, such as the California Smokers’ Helpline, and other resources that are available within the community. Before a pharmacist even offers nicotine replacement therapy, they will evaluate their patients for any specific factors including precautions or contraindications for medication therapy. In addition, extensive counseling is done by the pharmacist with their patient on the appropriate use of smoking cessation medications such as dosing amounts, how to administer the product, and any possible adverse effects.

SB 493 opened the doors for retail and community pharmacists to be able to transform their business model by offering more preventative healthcare services, like nicotine replacement therapy. Most importantly, pharmacists have an opportunity to be leaders in the fight against nicotine addiction by decreasing the use of tobacco products and promoting smoking cessation especially since they interface with patients frequently throughout the day.

The health benefits for patients who participate in a smoking cessation program are incredible considering the damaging effects of nicotine addiction. Smoking tobacco products increases the chance of lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease among others.

Patient Access to Care Increased

Patients are particularly at an advantage of receiving nicotine replacement therapy from their community pharmacist because the service can be provided more accessibly, rather than having to make an appointment to see their primary care physician which can take several weeks.  Patients who want to quit smoking and begin a smoking cessation program with their local pharmacist will see major improvements in their health and will significantly reduce the risk of premature death. 

The California Pharmacists Association was instrumental in advocating for SB 493 (Hernandez) and were sponsors of the legislation. CPhA’s CEO, Jon Roth recalls that the timing of this legislation was impeccable. “SB 493 was looked upon by the pharmacy profession as the perfect storm. For years, pharmacists had been overlooked as healthcare providers who could play a significant role in improving health outcomes and reducing overall healthcare spending through their expertise in medication management. After the Affordable Care Act had passed, California’s Medi-Cal program grew to over 13 million beneficiaries, which is about a third of the state’s population. Physicians became overwhelmed and we saw that many were no longer accepting Medi-Cal patients. So the need for pharmacists to bridge this gap in care was not only imperative, but it just made sense.”

Protocol for Pharmacists Furnishing Nicotine Replacement Products

Once the bill was signed into law, the California Board of Pharmacy and the Medical Board of California were responsible for developing protocols for pharmacists to follow when providing the authorized services outlined in SB 493 and determining the appropriate training requirements.

The entire protocol and training requirements for pharmacists to furnish nicotine replacement products is available here and summarized as follows:

  • Pharmacists have the authority to furnish nicotine replacement products approved by the FDA.
  • The purpose is to provide timely access to nicotine replacement products and to ensure the patient receives the appropriate information to initiate smoking cessation medication therapy. When a pharmacist initiates or receives requests for smoking cessation treatment he or she must:
    • Review the patient’s current tobacco use and quit attempts
    • Ask the patient a series of screening questions outlined in the protocol
    • Review instructions for use with every patient
    • Recommend additional assistance and resources such as helplines or local programs
    • Answer any questions the patient may have
  • A pharmacist may select any nicotine replacement product (alone or in combination) from the list of therapies specified by the Board of Pharmacy which shall be updated and maintained on the Board’s website.
  • The pharmacist shall notify the patient’s primary care provider of any prescription drugs or devices furnished to the patient for smoking cessation treatment.
  • The pharmacist must document each nicotine replacement product provided and securely store this information in a patient medication record for at least three years.
  • Before initiating any smoking cessation treatment, a pharmacist must complete a two hour continuing education program specific to smoking cessation therapy and nicotine replacement therapy.
  • Pharmacists must complete ongoing continuing education focused on smoking cessation therapy every two years. Pharmacists must ensure that patient confidentiality and privacy are maintained. 

Online Training from the California Pharmacists Association

The California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) offers pharmacists who want to provide nicotine replacement therapy to their patients an online webinar program that is approved by the Board of Pharmacy. This two-hour home study course is specific to California pharmacists and fulfils the training requirement needed before initiating smoking cessation treatment.  Participants who complete the online program and successfully pass the post-test will receive 2 hours (0.20 CEUs) of Continuing Pharmacy Education Credit. Each year this program will be updated to reflect any new regulatory or practice changes. Therefore, pharmacists can take this course every two years in order to remain compliant with state law.

New Fact Sheet from the California Smokers' Helpline

In addition, pharmacists can utilize the latest fact sheet provided by the California Smokers Helpline on furnishing nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation.




About this Blog

The California Smokers' Helpline offers free, evidence-based tobacco cessation services in multiple languages to help smokers quit. We also offer free training and resources to health professionals to increase their knowledge and capacity for tobacco cessation.

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Contact Us

For more information about our free training and resources for health professionals, please contact the Helpline Communications Department at (858) 300-1010 or cshoutreach@ucsd.edu.

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