VA’s Tobacco and Health program urges Veterans to quit smoking on the Great American Smokeout


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VA invites you to join the Great American Smokeout on Thursday, Nov. 21!  Whether the Smokeout marks your quit day or inspires you to stick to your quit plan, there’s no better day to celebrate a life free from smoking.

Quitting smoking improves the health of your entire body. It not only lowers your risk for cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder, but also sharpens your vision, increases the effectiveness of some medications and may help in alleviating chronic pain.

Plus, your loved ones will benefit when you quit smoking by no longer inhaling secondhand smoke, which can make breathing more difficult and may contribute to symptoms of respiratory disease.

VA has tools built with your needs in mind to help you live a life without cigarettes. Before, during and after the Smokeout, check out the resources below to start enjoying a better you.

Have you ever found yourself saying, “I’d like to quit, but I can’t deal with the cravings”?

Talk to your doctor about using the nicotine patch, gum, or lozenge — or other medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration — to help manage the withdrawal symptoms as you quit. View a video to learn about VA’s proven approach to smoking cessation, combining counseling with medication.

Have you ever wanted to talk to someone about your quit plan and find professional support?

VA’s free telephone quitline, 1-855-QUIT-VET (1-855-784-8838), offers smoking cessation counseling to Veterans who receive their health care through VA. Quit VET is staffed by trained counselors who will help you during any phase of quitting — whether you are just starting your journey or trying to get back on track after a slip.

Do you need support before your quit day and throughout your quit journey?

Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Sign up for SmokefreeVET by texting VET to 47848 to receive texts with tips and tools to beat the urge to smoke whenever it crops up. Remember to plan small rewards for yourself and ways to celebrate milestones on your quit journey with your family members and friends!

Create a better today for yourself and the people you care about on this year’s Great American Smokeout. Set up an appointment at your local VA medical center with your primary care or mental health provider, who can provide a proven combination of medication and counseling to help you quit smoking. There’s a counseling method designed to fit your needs, along with programs unique to your VA medical center.

Need more guides, tools, videos and resources for quitting? Visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov/quit-tobacco.

Author

VA Staff Contributor

Comments

  1. Janie Thurman    

    This year’s bone density jaw scan showed that 36 years of smoking (1969-2005) took away more than 40% of my jawbones. No more implants or fancy dental work to avoid a life of soaking my teeth in a jar at night. I swear not one single dentist or hygienist told me in all those years that smoking eats away your jawbones and was the cause of virtually every root canal and crown/cap I’d ever had to have, until the Deputy Chief of the Albuquerque VA Hospital’s Dental Clinic refused to authorize gum surgery for advanced gingivitis in 2005. I quit that same day and never went back (and yes, I had the gum surgery). Everyone needs a #1 reason to quit – something so important it overrides the difficulty. I can’t imagine why the government doesn’t do more advertising about the dental thing – a heart attack? Nah, not me, or maybe when I’m so old it’ll be my time anyway. But a mouth with no teeth? Hey! That’s something I care about TODAY!

  2. Daniel Riedel    

    Alan Carr “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.”

    The BEST resource I have ever come across for those wanting to quit, or those who are even ‘just curious.’

  3. Billy g Edwards    

    I’m going to try to do it today please pray God bless our troops and our families and our country with his wisdom . . Gratefully Sgt B Edwards. .
    (Ret) .

  4. Kerry Dobbins    

    Thanks for the reminder. Every year on the day of the Great American Smokeout I stop at 3 or 4 convenience stores and buy whoever smokes a pack on me. It’s my way of combating this attitude that the government and health organizations have the right to tell folks how they should live their life. I served in the military to protect our freedoms. I’m thinking I’d have been better off to go into politics work to stop the erosion of our rights.

  5. Darrel S Gebert    

    Retired USAF and Intel Community; nearly 49 years combined! Pretty much a pack-a-day smoker for 4( years! Tried quitting, unsuccessfully 5 or 6 times. Longest I went was nearly 30 years ago; lasted 4 months! Was finally so fed up; had a friend who tried auriculotherapy treatments to both ears. Not painful, Praise the Lord! Perhaps I finally just wanted it bad enough, but have been off smokes since Oct 17, 2018! Over 13 months now! Feel much better, but gave gained about 15 pounds! Working to get that off of me now. Good Luck – BUT QUIT!!! YOU CAN DO IT; have to want it for yourself!

  6. Richard Martarano    

    This is the second year that I’ve gone to my annual VA doctor’s appointment and filled out pre-appointment forms. I’ve requested twice for help with my tobacco use and wanted to quit. Last year she just blew me off. This year, I reminded the doctor’s nurse/aid that I’m requesting the VA’s help. I had also told her that I had filled out the part where I wanted to quit last year and nothing was done or was I even offered services for me to quit. She said she would make sure to bring it up to my doctor. Doctor comes in the room, does her “thing” and before departing the room, she stated that she felt since I’m retired and have tricare, she has no obligation to help me. Now go to your army doctor and ask him. What a joke…..

    1. Leonard Zamkoff    

      VA facilities have patient advocates to which shocking experiences like yours should be reported. I have used various VA facilities for 32 years, and have never been told what you were.

  7. Mp3zapp    

    Let us all please quit smoking, and we will live long.

    1. george owen duncan    

      I went to war to help stop people from being told how they should live their life, and here is a case of it right here at the VA. how many other vets are going to quit coming to the in for help? how many good staff will
      quit. how many will die because of a mommy rule?

      yours truly
      SGT george o duncan

      1. Leonard Zamkoff    

        What rule are you referring to? I see only the offer of help for people who want to quit smoking. The help is voluntary. No one is being TOLD how to live their life, though the life will probably be longer for those who stop smoking.

        1. Bryan B    

          Leonard, the VA started a No smoking on campus policy, October 1st. You are no longer allowed to smoke any where on the VA grounds including your own vehicle in the parking lot.

      2. Kerry Dobbins    

        Amen! I totally agree with your sentiment. It’s not what I served all those years for.

        1. Leonard Zamkoff    

          The question remains: What rule is G. Duncan referring to, that you apparently agree with? Do you think the VA should offer no information about better health? Reading them is not mandatory.

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