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Tobacco Cessation Questions and Answers

Q:  To whom does the tobacco free policy apply?

A:  All employees, patients, volunteers and visitors at all West Texas Centers facilities.

Q:  What does tobacco-free mean?

A:  Tobacco-free means no tobacco use in any facility, grounds and vehicles owned, leased or operated by West Texas Centers or their subcontractors.

Q: What do we do if an employee uses tobacco products on West Texas Centers’ property?

A:  Any employee in violation of the WTC Policy should be treated in the same manner as an employee using any other banned substance.  Employees who use tobacco products may be eligible to use their health insurance coverage for tobacco dependence treatment and should be encouraged to do so.  NRT is also available through the Texas Quitline 1-877-YES-QUIT (1-877-937-7848)

Q:  Is it permissible to ask prospective employees if the smoke?

A:  No, during the interview process the interviewer should clearly state that West Texas Centers is tobacco-free, describe the Tobacco Policy and ask the prospective employee if they can meet the conditions of employment without special accommodations. 

Q: How do we get Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT) for our patients?

A:  Most patients will be eligible for NRT through their private insurance or Medicaid.  West Texas Centers does have a limited supply of NRT that may be provided to patients at no cost if they do not have any pharmacy Benefits.  Staff will apply directly to the Patient Assistance Provider in their region to file an application.  It is vital that patients who have pharmacy benefits and are able to obtain NRT by prescription, obtain them in that manner, so as to leave the NRT supply for patients with no coverage. 

Q:  Can staff also get NRT?

A:  Yes, Most staff will be eligible for NRT through their private health insurance or Medicaid.  West Texas Centers does have a limited supply of NRT that will be provided to staff who don’t have insurance coverage for NRT.  However, as with patients, staff NRT should be reserved for those who do not have another means to obtain NRT.  Staff who believe they be eligible should contact the Human Resources Department. 

Q:  What if the patient doesn’t want to quit smoking or using tobacco products?

A:  Tobacco cessation is best treated when clients are ready to quit.  The treatment provider should provide patients with all of the information and counseling they would need to stop smoking or using other tobacco products.  Patients who are not interested in quitting may still receive treatment with clear understanding that they must comply with the facilities policy of 100% tobacco free grounds. 

Q:  What about the dangers and contraindications of NRT?

A:  There is a risk with any medication, including over the counter medication.  However, lets remain mindful of the the fact that it is for more dangerous to smoke cigarettes?