As soon as you stop using tobacco, the benefits begin. If you’re ready to be tobacco free, your VA health care team can help.

The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout is an annual event that encourages smokers to make a plan to quit or to actually quit smoking on November 17, 2016.

In the more than 50 years since the Surgeon General’s first report on smoking and health, cigarette smoking among U.S. adults has been reduced by approximately half. However, since 1964, an estimated 20 million persons have died because of smoking, which remains the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. Secondhand smoke kills about 50,000 people in the United States each year.

About two-thirds of adult smokers want to quit smoking cigarettes, and approximately half of smokers tried to quit in the preceding year. In 2015, an estimated 16.8 percent (2015 VHA Enrollee survey) of Veterans were current cigarette smokers. Getting effective help through counseling and medications can increase your chances of quitting by as much as threefold.

  • Don’t use tobacco in any form.
  • If you are using tobacco, VA can help you quit.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke.
  • If you are pregnant, both you and your baby will benefit when you quit using tobacco.

Here’s a website that provides information on quitting, preventing, and treating smoking and tobacco use for Veterans, their families and health professionals.

VA Smoking Cessation Resources for Veterans

Quit VET: a national, toll-free smoking cessation quit line for Veterans who receive their health care in VA. Call 1-855-QUIT-VET (1-855-784-8338) for free counseling in both English and Spanish, Monday – Friday, 8 am – 10pm ET.

SmokefreeVET: a text messaging program for Veterans to provide support and encouragement 24/7 during a quit attempt. You can sign up for the program in English by texting the word VET to 47848 from your mobile phone or by visiting

For Spanish, text VETesp to 47848 or visit

Stay Quit Coach: a free Smartphone app to help support you during a quit attempt, available at the Apple app store:

Women and Tobacco: Health Effects and Quitting resources:

Veterans Health Library: The Veterans Health Library offers Veterans and their families 24/7 Internet access to comprehensive, Veteran-focused health information that’s consistent with VA clinical practice. Its information, resources, and tools are engaging, “Veteran-friendly” and written in plain language. It helps Veterans understand and manage health problems, make informed health decisions and actively partner with their health care teams.

Quitting tobacco is one of the most significant things you can do to improve your health and your family’s health.

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Published on Nov. 17, 2016

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