Let VA help you quit smoking during the Great American Smokeout

Every day, every year, Veterans find great reasons to quit smoking cigarettes.

Some are coping with the challenges of depression or anxiety disorders. Some are concerned about the long-term health effects — for both themselves and the family members or even pets that are exposed to their secondhand smoke. Others may be having a baby next spring, or trying to run more, or just trying to save some money.

No matter why a Veteran wants to quit, the process can be a difficult road. VA is here to help smooth the way.

VA is launching the “Why We Quit” campaign during the Great American Smokeout. Now is the perfect time to choose to quit, and when Veterans make a plan for putting out that last cigarette, this campaign will provide the resources and support for success.

Thursday, Nov. 16, is the Great American Smokeout, a day devoted to sharing resources and encouraging people to stopsmoking . At noon Eastern time, we’ll be hosting a Twitter town hall, featuring valuable insights and tips from leading experts on ways to quit: the American Psychiatric Association; the American Psychological Association; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Institute on Drug Abuse; Smokefree.gov; and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #WhyWeQuit.

Whether you’re a smoker yourself or care about someone who smokes, there are plenty of good reasons to stop.

The CDC estimates that each year smoking leads to about 480,000 deaths in the United States.1 Quitting can almost immediately improve physical health. It can lower blood pressure and heart rate, improve lung function, decrease symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, reduce pain from severe headaches, improve your night vision, and much more.

And it’s not just your physical health, quitting can enhance your mental health, too. Quitting can decrease feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as suicidal thoughts. It also can increase the effectiveness of some medications and even reduce the risk of relapsing for people in substance use disorder treatment.

More than half of smokers enrolled in VA health care have attempted to quit in the past year. We know that it can seem like an uphill climb, but our team is here to support every one of them.

If you’re thinking it’s time to quit, tune in to the Twitter town hall on Nov. 16 to learn more about making — and sticking to — a quit plan, and check out this video about the ties between smoking and mental health.

And if you’re ready to quit today call 1-855-QUIT-VET (1-855-784-8838) and speak with a tobacco cessation counselor. Counselors are available Monday through Friday, 9 am to 9 pm ET to help you build a quit plan and provide ongoing support.

Every day, every year, people find reasons to quit. Together, let’s make your reason the one that sticks.


VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/


  1. David Allen Akins    

    I started smoking wit C Rations (issued during part of my period of service 67-until they stopped issuing around 73) and stopped years later. Let me be clear: The Army did not force me to smoke just because they were available. That’s all on me. It was hard and there are a lot of aides to stopping. Patches and now clean nicotine Vape. Patches help the physical addiction and I cut up Dixie straws the size of cigarettes and drew air through them and this helped with the mental addiction. It worked. If anyone wants to discuss these challenges I am open to any veteran. Just request my phone number.

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