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Cardiovascular Institute of the South

FREE Smoking Cessation Program

To aid our community in becoming more heart healthy, CIS has partnered with the Louisiana Smoking Cessation Trust to offer free smoking cessation counseling appointments and free smoking cessation medications. To be eligible for the program, you must be a Louisiana resident who started smoking before September 1, 1988. See below to sign up or read our Frequently Asked Questions.

*If you do not qualify for the free program, you may still visit a CIS cardiologist regarding smoking cessation (your insurance will be billed), and we will work to help you receive discounts on medications.

Smoking Cessation Program
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does the program work?

A: The program offers free medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, and free one-on-one counseling sessions with a physician to aid Louisiana residents in quitting smoking. Our physicians will work with you on a plan of when to quit, what medication to try and what support you may need. Group counseling will also be available in the near future.

Q: Who qualifies to participate in this free program?

A: These free products and services are only available to residents of Louisiana who started smoking prior to September 1, 1988.

Q: What if I want to quit but donít qualify for the program?

A: If you want to quit smoking and do not qualify for the program, you can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit where you can find other resources, such as a coach, who can help you develop a plan to quit and offer counseling. This service is free for all Louisiana residents age 13 and older who are ready to quit within the next 30 days.

Q: Is the program really free?

A: Yes, those who are eligible and enrolled in the program will receive a benefits card to obtain free smoking cessation medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), as well as doctor visits and group counseling. However, if a physician provides services unrelated to smoking cessation at a visit, the patient will be billed for a regular visit and there will be a co-pay.

Q: Why should smokers try to quit?

A: In addition to causing several types of cancer, lung problems and reproductive complications, smoking is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Smoking damages the blood vessels and can make them thicken and grow narrower. This makes the heart beat faster and work harder, which leads to high blood pressure, blood clots, and a higher risk of heart attack or stroke.

Q: Do I have to quit right away?

A: No, the clinic will work with you to come up with a date for you to quit. It will not be the day you come in. Please know that the program offers a total of two 120-day benefit coverage periods in one year. Therefore, you must re-enroll after the first 120 days.

Q: Will it make a real health difference if I quit?

A: Itís never too late to quit. Giving up smoking quickly reduces the chance of devel­oping cardiovascular disease, and within five years of quitting, the chances of having a heart attack are 50-70 percent lower for former smokers compared to current smokers.

Q: If I have tried multiple times to quit without success, how can this attempt be more successful?

A: In addition to the free medication to fight nicotine cravings, counseling is available (both in person and over the phone) to guide the participant in resisting cravings and responding to moments of weakness. Also, nicotine addiction is the only addiction where cessation is the most successful after multiple attempts. The program allows for two 120-day quit attempts a year for the next 10 years totaling 20 quit attempts. You can do it, and we are here to help you.

Q: How can smokers sign up to participate?

A: To sign up, call or visit the CIS clinic nearest you. You can also sign up by visiting After signing up, a benefits packet will be mailed within about 3-4 weeks. Once residents receive their packet, they should contact our clinic to schedule a free smoking cessation counseling appointment.