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Medication Options

Quitting cold turkey isn’t the only way to leave your habit in the past. If you need a little extra support, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or prescription medications may help you quit for good.

You Don't Have to Quit Alone

How It Works

Medication can be a useful tool for those hoping to quit smoking, vaping or chewing tobacco. When nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and prescription medications are used properly, they boost your likelihood of quitting successfully by reducing your cravings and lessening withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your health care provider about how to get varenicline (generic Chantix), bupropion (generic Zyban) or NRT free when you enroll with the South Dakota QuitLine.

Contact the QuitLine

NRT Options

With NRT, there are three options for you to choose from: gum, lozenges and patches. NRT can be purchased over the counter, or you may qualify for free NRT through the South Dakota QuitLine with a Kickstart Kit or a quit coach.

Learn About NRT


Prescription Medications

If you’ve tried NRT or think you may need more support than NRT can provide, there are prescription medications you can obtain by talking to your health care provider. If you enroll in the South Dakota QuitLine coaching program, you may receive free* medications with a prescription.

Learn About Prescriptions


*Receiving a free prescription of varenicline or bupropion requires a prescription from a provider, which may include an office visit charge or copay, depending on insurance status. The medication itself can be offered at no charge when a patient enrolls in phone coaching with the South Dakota QuitLine.

Start the Conversation


If you’re hoping to try NRT or prescriptions like bupropion or varenicline, talking to your health care provider is the first step. Sometimes bringing up quitting with your provider may seem intimidating. Remember that they only want to help you be the healthiest version of yourself. That means helping you find a quit method that works best for you. So don't be shy!

Download Medication Fact Sheet

Ways to Start the Conversation
  • “I’ve tried quitting tobacco on my own, but I’m finding that quitting cold turkey hasn’t worked well for me. On my own, I’ve heard about some prescription medication options. Are there any you’d recommend to me?”
  • “I’m hoping to quit tobacco, but methods I’ve tried in the past haven’t worked for me. I’ve heard that bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix) have been proven to be effective. Do you think a prescription would work for me in my situation?”
  • “In my quit journey, I’ve heard that with a prescription and enrolling in coaching, I can get cessation medications for free. Can you talk to me about bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix) and if they would be a good fit for me?”
  • “I want to quit [smoking, vaping, chewing]. I think a medication would help me stay quit. I’ve read about how I can get medications free with quit coaching through the South Dakota QuitLine. What cessation medications do you think would work best for me?”
  • “I’m looking to quit tobacco. Do you recommend I start with NRT or could I start with prescription medications like bupropion or varenicline?”

When you bring up the idea of quit medications with your provider, remind them of your experiences with trying to quit in the past. What have you tried? If you tried to cold turkey, let them know what about it didn’t work. If you tried NRT or other prescription cessation medications in the past, communicate how they affected you, what worked and what didn’t. Consider whether you’re willing to try a different NRT than you’ve tried previously, if any.

Don’t forget that to get medications at no cost, you’ll need to enroll in enhanced phone coaching with the South Dakota QuitLine as well as a written prescription for 12 weeks.

Download a Conversation Starter Guide

Questions for Your Provider

Once you’ve been prescribed a medication, delve deeper into what to expect from your medication. Consider asking questions like these:

  • How long will it take for the medication to take effect?
  • How long before my quit date should I start the medication?
  • How long should I take the medication for?
  • Should the medication be taken with a meal?
  • What side effects should I watch out for and report?
  • If I forget to take it, what should I do?
  • Will this have any effect on my other medications?
  • If I slip and use tobacco, what happens?
What You Should Know


Before using any medicine to help you quit tobacco, talk with your health care provider if you:

  • Are younger than 18.
  • Are pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding.
  • Have heart disease, severe kidney problems or depression.
  • Have another existing medical condition.
  • Are trying to quit any substances or forms of tobacco other than cigarettes.