Kroger Health is expanding the pharmacy services available to patients in Idaho and Indiana. Beginning Feb. 3, pharmacies at Kroger banners — including Kroger, Fred Meyer and Smith’s — in the states will be able to prescribe and supply tobacco cessation products that can be used alongside lifestyle resources and behavioral support.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that 68% of current smokers say they want to quit smoking, with more than half of daily smokers saying they stopped for more than one day in an attempt to permanently quit. The company said the service will combine medications and behavioral counseling.
The new service is coming as a result of recent state-level legislation in Idaho and Indiana allowing pharmacists to prescribe such tobacco cessation medications as Zyban and Chantix alongside a patient-specific quit plan. Patients meet with the pharmacist for counseling and receive a prescription, as well as cessation therapy and behavioral counseling, if appropriate. Kroger said its Rx Savings Club membership makes several of the medications available at a discounted rate.
"Smoking and tobacco are leading causes of preventable disease in the United States," said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health. "Many customers want to quit but don't know where to start. Others have tried to quit but were unsuccessful. We want people to know they can come to our pharmacy and get assistance with what can often be a trying process. As a pharmacist who began my career in our stores, I've seen firsthand how much programs like this can change people's lives."
In Indiana, 114 stores will be joining Little Clinic providers in supplying the service, and 15 Idaho pharmacies will do the same.
"Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare providers," said Jim Kirby, senior director of Kroger Health services. "Our Pharmacists and The Little Clinic providers are available to address all of their healthcare needs – from vaccinations to tobacco cessation."