Pharmacists Authorized to Prescribe Tobacco Cessation Therapy in More States

More and more states are looking to pharmacists to provide tobacco cessation therapy to patients, whether through a statewide protocol or state regulations.  Here’s a summary of which states now (or will soon) allow pharmacists to prescribe tobacco cessation medications:

New Mexico

New Mexico has had statewide protocols for some time – per the 2001 legislation that allowed for pharmacist prescribing. Their statewide protocols include smoking cessation, immunizations, naloxone, TB testing, and just recently, hormonal contraceptives. New Mexico laws allow for statewide protocols to be issued through a regulatory process – in this case a collaborative one between the boards of pharmacy, nursing, and medicine. Their protocol for tobacco cessation includes all “FDA approved products for tobacco cessation,” including nicotine replacement products, Chantix® and Zyban®.

New Mexico’s Protocol


Pursuant to a bill passed in 2013, all licensed pharmacists in California may “furnish” prescription nicotine replacement products and devices for smoking cessation pursuant to the pharmacist following the statewide protocol and other regulations, which includes at least 2 hours of continuing education in smoking cessation.

California’s Regulations


Legislation passed this year in Idaho giving pharmacists the authority to prescribe smoking cessation medications. This authority is included directly in the definition of the practice of pharmacy and includes “any tobacco cessation product approved by the federal food and drug administration.” This means medications beyond nicotine replacement products, like Chantix® and Zyban® can be prescribed by pharmacists.

Idaho’s Bill


Legislation passed in 2017 in Arizona to authorize licensed pharmacists, who have completed a training course, to prescribe and administer oral fluoride varnish or tobacco cessation medications (limited to nicotine replacement products) pursuant to rules adopted by the Board of Pharmacy.

Arizona’s Bill


Also in 2017, Maine passed legislation that adds the “ordering and dispensing of over-the-counter nicotine replacement products” to the definition of the practice of pharmacy.

Maine’s Bill


After the passage of a bill in 2016 allowing for statewide protocols to be developed through the regulatory process, the Colorado boards of pharmacy, medicine and nursing have collaborated to develop protocols to allow Colorado pharmacists to prescribe hormonal contraceptives and soon also tobacco cessation products. The tobacco cessation protocol has been developed and includes nicotine replacement therapy, Zyban®, Chantix®, and combination therapies. According to the board of pharmacy website (linked below), more information is under development regarding this authority.

Colorado’s Protocol

More Information on Tobacco Cessation and Statewide Protocols

Statewide Protocols

Pharmacists and Smoking Cessation

  • Pharmacists: Help Your Patients Quit Smoking – CDC resource with links for pharmacists to engage in a key role in the fight against tobacco use.  This resource provides links to several handouts, fact sheets, free continuing education, and videos to aid pharmacists in helping their patients quit smoking.

Support for Pharmacists’ Role in Tobacco Cessation

  • Access to Tobacco Cessation Medication Through Pharmacists – this guide was developed by the Tobacco Control Network, an organization comprised of the tobacco control program managers and staff from each state and territorial health agency in the U.S. The guide highlights the role pharmacists can play in tobacco cessation. Of note, it was published before authority for pharmacist prescribing of tobacco cessation products was finalized in 2017 for Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, and Maine.
  • CMCS Bulletin on the Value of Pharmacist Prescribing – issued by the Center for Medicaid and Chip Services, this informational bulletin highlights the opportunity for pharmacists to help address public health needs–including pharmacist prescribing of tobacco cessation products.


Read about states authorizing pharmacist-prescribed contraceptives here.