The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is encouraging veterans to take the first step. On Nov. 19, vets are invited stop smoking as part of the annual Great American Smokeout to improve their physical and mental health by combining cessation counseling with other VA clinical resources and support.
Research shows behavioral counseling can significantly improve one’s chances of quitting and combining counseling and medication works better than medication or counseling alone.
“VA is here to help veterans quit smoking,” stated Michael Swartz, executive director. “There are many tools and support VA offers to veterans trying to quit. Take the first step to improve your health.”
VA’s smoking counseling programs are one of the most effective tools available for veterans who want to permanently stop smoking. VA health care providers can help veterans explore the role tobacco plays in their daily routine, including the activities or situations that trigger someone to use tobacco products. These triggers can include talking on the phone, drinking coffee or alcohol, or feeling bored or stressed. VA providers work with veterans to develop strategies for coping with those triggers and to tailor plans for quitting that will fit into each veteran’s everyday life.
In addition to counseling, VA provides other services designed to help veterans stop smoking, including prescription medications, nicotine-replacement products such as gum and patches, and resources including Quit VET and SmokefreeVET.
For more information about tobacco cessation, contact local program coordinator Christina Gallson at 716-862-8588 and www.mentalhealth.va.gov/quit-tobacco.