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Health & wellbeing: Smoking cessation

Health & wellbeing: Smoking cessation

Staying safe and healthy is top of mind these days. If you smoke or vape you may be thinking about seeking support to quit to lessen the impact Covid-19 might have on your health. When smoking you are more vulnerable to serious respiratory diseases through repeated contact of fingers to lips, and the possibility of already having reduced lung capacity [1]. Reducing or quitting smoking results in improved lung’s ability to fight infection, increased oxygenation and lowered blood pressure and pulse in as little as 8 hours after the last cigarette [2].

Smoking Cessation Support Services are available to UBC staff, faculty and their dependents through the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) and UBC’s Extended Health Benefits.

Telephone Smoking Cessation Program (EFAP Provider Morneau-Shepell)

Led by a certified smoking cessation counsellor, Morneau-Shepell’s program guides you through a series of phone sessions that aim to help you navigate and problem-solve difficult situations. You also receive a handbook containing exercises and strategies for incorporating your new skills into your daily routines.

The program includes:

  • An initial assessment
  • Four counselling sessions
  • One booster session
  • Two aftercare sessions.

Online Stop Smoking Centre (EFAP Provider Morneau-Shepell)

This interactive and personalized online program offers convenience, security and access anytime, anywhere. Key components of the program include:

  • Achieving six major milestones to help quit smoking
  • Connecting with an online peer support group that is moderated by health care professionals.

Learn more about Morneau-Shepell’s Smoking Cessation Program and Stop Smoking Centre. Services are free for UBC faculty and staff, and 100% confidential. To book services or to learn which service is right for you, call the Morneau-Shepell Care Access Centre at 1-844-880-9137 or visit worklifehealth.com. (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization.)

Smoking Cessation Support Services (Extended Health Benefits)

UBC’s Extended Health Benefits plan provides reimbursement for smoking cessation products that require a prescription, as well as over-the-counter products with a prescription. If you’re enrolled in UBC’s extended benefits plan, you can access up to $300 per year per person for smoking cessation drugs. The plan also provides coverage for naturopathic services that can include anti-smoking treatments administered by a doctor of naturopathic medicine (ND).

For more details, refer to the information outlined by your UBC Employee Group. For specific drug coverage information, visit the Sun Life Member Website, call Sun Life at 1-800-661-7334 or 1-800-361-6212, or review the details in your Sun Life benefits booklet.

Additional UBC Resources

  • UBC Pharmacists Clinic (Vancouver campus): The pharmacists have experience supporting people through a smoking cessation process that includes goal-setting, arranging access to nicotine replacement therapy, etc. This routine service is available by appointment. Contact the Pharmacists Clinic.
  • Information about community substance use support and support services can be found here.

Additional Provincial Resources

  • BC Smoking Cessation Program helps eligible B.C. residents stop smoking or using other tobacco products by assisting with the cost of smoking cessation prescription drugs or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products.
  • Quit Now is a free program using evidenced-based strategies to help approach quitting.
References
  1. https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-smoking-and-covid-19
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/what-happens-when-you-quit-smoking
Navigating Travel Benefits: Answers to Your Top 5 Questions

Navigating Travel Benefits: Answers to Your Top 5 Questions

Summer is right around the corner and if you plan to travel, it’s best to understand your travel benefits coverage prior to your trip. Visit our Travel Benefits webpage for full details, but if your bags are packed and you’re ready to go, review our top five frequently asked questions before you leave.

1. Am I covered while travelling outside BC or Canada?

Yes, and coverage depends on the expense. See the table below for a summary of coverage.

Remember, if you experience a medical emergency while travelling, it’s important to contact Allianz Global Assistance, Sun Life’s travel assistance provider, as soon as possible.

Expense Coverage Outside BC or Canada Amount Covered
Physician Services
(emergency only)
Yes 100%, up to your overall lifetime max. of $2 million per person
Hospital Services
(emergency only)
Yes 100%, up to your overall lifetime max. of $2 million per person
Ambulance Services – air or ground
(emergency only)
Yes 100%, up to your overall lifetime max. of $2 million per person
Prescription Drugs
(emergency and non-emergency)
Yes Same level of reimbursement as if the expense had been incurred in BC, up to your overall lifetime max. of $2 million per person
Other Services & Supplies – normally covered by UBC’s Extended Health Plan

(emergency and non-emergency)

Yes Same level of reimbursement as if the expense had been incurred in BC, up to your overall lifetime max. of $2 million per person

In order to have coverage, you must be enrolled in the BC Medical Services Plan (either through UBC, your spouse/partner’s employer’s plan or with Health Insurance BC directly) and the UBC Extended Health Plan while temporarily outside of BC. You are covered for 365 days from the date you leave BC or your home province.

Your dependents are also covered if they meet the definition of eligible dependent and they are enrolled in the BC Medical Services Plan (either through UBC, your spouse/partner’s employer’s plan or with Health Insurance BC directly) and listed as your dependent under your Extended Health plan.

2. Should I purchase additional travel insurance?

How you answer this question will depend on your situation. And while we can’t make this decision for you, we can provide you with information on what your insurance covers (and what it does not cover). We suggest reading our previous Benefits FYI article where we answer this very question.

3. I have a pre-existing condition. Am I covered if I need medical attention related to my condition while travelling?

Yes, if the pre-existing medical condition is stable and controlled at the time of departure from BC/Canada and if your doctor has cleared you for travel. It’s strongly recommended that you obtain a letter from your doctor clearing you for travel or ask that a note be added to your medical file.

4. I am travelling to a country that has a travel advisory warning. Am I covered if I need medical attention while in that country?

Yes, travelling to a country that has a travel advisory warning does not mean you lose your coverage. We recommend calling Allianz Global Assistance, Sun Life’s travel assistance provider, in advance of your travels to confirm whether you will be able to access their medical emergency travel assistance services in your destination area. It is your responsibility to review your benefits coverage, including exclusions and limitations, prior to travel.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency while outside BC or Canada, contact Allianz Global Assistance as soon as possible. Allianz Global Assistance will try to connect you with medical services to the best of its ability; however, services may be delayed or unavailable depending on the situation.

5. Am I covered for trip cancellation, trip delay or lost luggage?

No. However, you can purchase such an insurance policy with the airline or travel company you have purchased your flight(s) or vacation package from.

For more information: