VA Connecticut Healthcare System
Great American Smokeout
On Thursday, Nov. 16, the American Cancer Society’s 41st annual Great American Smokeout calls on smokers to make a plan to quit or light their last cigarette.
This year, VA launched the “Why We Quit” campaign to motivate Veterans to make the choice to quit smoking. Whether your reason is improving your mental and physical well-being, protecting the health of your family (and pets!), or simply saving some money, now is the time to quit for good.
While public awareness about the physical health risks of smoking has never been higher, many people are not as familiar with the mental health risks of smoking. Fifteen percent of Veterans enrolled in VA health care still smoke,2 and many are unaware that quitting can improve your mood, decrease feelings of depression and anxiety, and even help certain medications work better.
The good news is that about two-thirds of adult smokers want to quit, and more than half of smokers enrolled in VA health care have attempted to quit in the past year. In fact, some 74 percent of enrolled Veterans who smoked have successfully quit — so it’s possible, especially with support.
VA offers Veterans resources to guide them every step of the way. Check out the Tobacco and Health website to learn more about quitting, and share the resources and information that VA and local VA providers offer to help Veterans stop smoking for good.
VA Smoking Cessation Resources
- Local VA providers, including your primary care provider or mental health counselor, are the best bet to help you quit tobacco, working with you to determine the right combination of counseling and medication to meet your needs. Local VA medical centers (VAMCs) offer a range of programs, including individual counseling, group classes, telephone clinics, and telehealth.
- Quit VET is a toll-free national quitline for Veterans who receive their health care at VA. Callers to 1-855-QUIT-VET (1-855-784-8838) will work with a tobacco cessation counselor to build a quit plan and discuss strategies for staying on track. Learn more: https://www.publichealth.va.gov/smoking/quitline.asp
- SmokefreeVET is an innovative text messaging program that provides daily tips and encouragement to support Veterans while they stop smoking. After texting VET to 47848, Veterans receive encouraging messages each day, and they can text keywords such as “STRESS” or “SMOKED” to receive an immediate response. Learn more: https://www.publichealth.va.gov/smoking/smokefreevet.asp
- Stay Quit Coach is a mobile app that was designed to help Veterans quit tobacco, with tools and information specifically addressing the needs of Veterans with PTSD. The app is available for free download from the App Store and Android Apps. Learn more: https://mobile.va.gov/app/stay-quit-coach