I smoked for nearly ten years. I picked up the habit when I was 18 or 19 years old, and didn’t truly quit until my late 20s. Like many smokers, I tried a number of different philosophies to kick the habit. It was easier to quit when I left the military, but it was still a challenge. Even years after I quit, I still get cravings occasionally, especially if I’m around other smokers.

Like any personal challenge, a support system is always key to success. I wish I had known about VA’s Smoking Quitline when I decided to quit. One call to the quitline can get you set up with a counselor to talk about the importance of quitting, help you set up a plan, and schedule follow up calls to check in on your progress.

To get you more familiar with this service provided by VA, I spoke with a cessation counselor about what you need to know about the experience of using our Smoking Quitline.

The #VApodcast is now available in iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and Spotify. Search “Borne the Battle” in your podcast app of choice to subscribe.

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Published on Apr. 9, 2018

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One Comment

  1. Tom Denison April 13, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    I am a former smoker, My smoking story is not as clean as most. I began around 10 years old. I smoked Camel cigarettes–unfiltered; they cost 25 cents a pack. So I was pretty well hooked when I went in the Air Force in 1968. In basic, we all had a chance to quit but ignored it. It was a game of the training instructor (TI) not to let anyone smoke until the second week. Then came the word, “smoke ’em if you got ’em.” Most of us didn’t have ’em with us. The TI wouldn’t let us go get them and we couldn’t “bum” them from some one else. That was the last time I and the others were with out smokes. The culture was a lot different then, most people smoked (even our family doctor smoked). The cigarette companies lied to us regularly about how harmless they were and of course we “believed” them. Cigarettes were cheap and even cheaper overseas where they weren’t taxed. In the late 70s attitudes toward smoking began to change. I tried to quit a thousand times but had no will power to follow through with it. Then one day, I ran out of smokes and was bumming them off my friends. They were really hassling me for not having my own. We were working end-of-runway (final aircraft check before takeoff) and couldn’t leave the area. So, my response was $crew you guys–I quit. It started as a whim, partly knowing that if I acted as if I was going to quit, they’d all offer me cigarettes. I don’t really know why, but I refused their offers. I made it through the rest of the day, and thought if I can go this long may be I could go a day. So that’s how my journey started one day at a time. The bad part was this occurred in late October 1978. The holidays were coming up which meant squadron parties. I was in a fighter interceptor squadron and we had lots of parties. They were known as Mandatory Fun and face time was important to show you were part of the “family.” So, I he parties, walk around so that many people see me then quietly leave. This worked!
    I went about 6-months before I finally overcame the cravings, and for the next17 years I stayed smoke-free. I stayed in the Air Force for 22 years before retiring, went to school and got a bachelors degree and went to work as a testing manager for a civilian family owned company. They had lots of parties too (Mandatory Fun all over again). At one of those parties in September 1995, I had a few beers (actually quite a few beers). I was around a bunch of smokers and all of the sudden a whiff of smoke passed by my nose, and it smelled Oh Soo Good! I couldn’t resist, I figured one cigarette won’t hurt. The next day is when I realized too late that former smokers are like alcoholics, you can’t have just one. Before long I was back at it again. It would take another 10 years and a heart attack (triple by-pass) to bring me back to my senses. So this April I celebrate both surviving 8 years after my heart attack and 8-years of no smoking (again).

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