Choose to Quit Tobacco: TRICARE Can Help

11/29/2019

Do you want to quit tobacco, including smoking, vaping, or smokeless tobacco? TRICARE can help you. Using these products is harmful to your health. Over time, using them can shorten your lifespan and quality of life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the U.S. You don’t need to have a tobacco-related illness to use these benefits.

Are you a TRICARE beneficiary and not entitled to Medicare? Tobacco cessation services and counseling are available to you. If you have Medicare, it offers similar services that you can use.

TRICARE also covers certain prescription and over-the-counter products at no cost to you to help you quit tobacco. You must:

  • Have a prescription from a TRICARE-authorized providerClick to closeAn authorized provider is any individual, institution/organization, or supplier that is licensed by a state, accredited by national organization, or meets other standards of the medical community, and is certified to provide benefits under TRICARE. There are two types of TRICARE-authorized providers: Network and Non-Network..
  • Fill your prescription through the TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery or at a military pharmacy. TRICARE won’t cover your tobacco cessation products if you get them from a retail pharmacy.
  • Be age 18 or older if you’re living in the U.S. You can’t be eligible for Medicare.
  • Be enrolled in TRICARE Overseas Program Prime if you’re living overseas or in the U.S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, smokers die on average at least 10 years earlier than those who don’t smoke. And more than 1,200 people in the U.S. die from smoking-related causes every day.

The sooner you quit, the better for your body. Quitting sets a good example for the children and teens in your life. It’s during youth and young adulthood when tobacco use and addiction mostly start.

E-cigarette use is also a growing area of concern. According to the 2015 Department of Defense Health Related Behaviors Survey, 35.7% of service members have tried e-cigarettes. This is an increase of eight fold between 2011 and 2015. And 11.1% of service members said they use e-cigarettes daily. This is a rate higher than the 3.7% of users across the general population during a similar period.

Many people use e-cigarettes recreationally. But some people use e-cigarettes to help them stop using other tobacco products. The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t approve e-cigarettes to help you quit smoking. TRICARE covers proven, safe, and effective methods to help you quit tobacco.

The Department of Defense has a campaign to help service members and their families stop their use of tobacco. YouCanQuit2 provides a wide range of tools. To learn more about TRICARE resources, check out the TRICARE Tobacco Cessation Program Fact Sheet.

We are committed to helping you succeed in your attempt to quit. To learn more about tobacco cessation and available resources, you can check out the Military Health System Tobacco-Free Living page.

Last Updated 12/6/2019