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Veterans Health Administration

Want to Quit Smoking?

The Great American Smokeout. Quit for a day. Quit for life. November 15, 2012

 

Join thousands during the
Great American Smokeout

No matter how long you’ve been smoking or trying to quit, you can be smoke-free. This November 15, join the thousands of Americans who quit smoking each year during the Great American Smokeout.

To help Veterans quit smoking and tobacco use, VA offers:

  • Screening for tobacco use during primary care visits
  • Individual counseling
  • Prescriptions for nicotine replacement therapy, such as a nicotine patch or gum, or other medications
  • Participation in evidence-based smoking cessation programs

Learn more about these and other tools by visiting the Office of Public Health and learn about the new mobile web page and view the Break Free from Smoking video.

A soldier crouches by a stuccoed wall

 

You’ll want to “Be Like (Veteran) Mike”

For Mike McMichael, eight rather than three was the magic number. A smoker for more than 25 years, he finally quit on the eighth try, while participating in a study of a new smoking cessation treatment being tested at the Durham Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center.

“I started smoking when I was 12 because it was the cool thing to do, and continued to smoke through and after deployment where I smoked four packs a day,” said Mike. “Before beginning the study, I was tired of smoking, tired of feeling bad, and tired of smelling like an ash tray.”

Mike had tried to quit for years, but this time he found that his reasons for quitting and having strong support influenced his success. Motivated to quit by the concern of his wife and kids, he participated in a VA-sponsored smoking cessation clinic three times without lasting success.

“When I quit for others, I was only able to quit for a short time,” said Mike. “This last time was different because I was finally quitting for me and found a program that held me accountable.”

VA smoking cessation care generally involves group and individual counseling that may be combined with nicotine replacement therapy or other medication prescribed by a VA health care provider.

Dealing with Quitting Smoking and PTSD

The treatment that made the difference for Mike, however, integrates smoking cessation with treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder. It also used carbon monoxide and saliva testing to detect evidence of smoking; thereby, providing “a number you could actually see that helped keep me accountable,” said McMichael.

As Mike demonstrates, no matter how long you have been smoking or trying to quit, you can be smoke-free. This November 15, join the thousands of Americans who quit smoking each year during the Great American Smokeout.

Whether you decide that you are ready to quit smoking for a day or for longer, VA encourages you to talk to your provider about the many resources available to help you quit.