Quitting smoking can improve your physical and mental health… and help you take a step toward a brighter future without tobacco. Let the rewards of quitting motivate you to pursue a life that doesn’t include smoking.

Quitting smoking has been proven to benefit Veterans’ whole health – both physical and mental. But it also can also improve your lifestyle by creating more time for things you enjoy.

In the short term, that means you won’t have to miss out every time you go outside to smoke. In the long term, it means a reduced risk of diabetes, substance use disorders, heart and lung problems, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Quit smoking… for yourself and those you love.

When you’re ready to try life without smoking – even if you’ve tried to quit before – reach out to your VA provider to learn about the treatment options that can help you reach your goals.

What would your life look like without smoking?

Most people who smoke regularly would admit to feeling winded while doing something they used to do with ease, such as climbing stairs. And most would likely say they have cut short an activity they enjoy or spending time with people they care about because they had to step away to smoke.

Why give up the things you enjoy when you could stop smoking and enjoy them more? Imagine never having to stop playing with your children to go smoke or losing the momentum of your exercise routine by stopping to catch your breath. When you don’t smoke, you can spend more time with your children and likely feel a boost in your physical endurance.

After helping you identify your health and lifestyle destinations, your VA provider can come up with a tailored road map to get you there, smoke-free.

Don’t quit trying. Try quitting – as many times as it takes.

It isn’t easy to quit smoking and most people make several attempts before they’re able to stop for good. But that’s not a bad thing! Every attempt brings freedom from tobacco use closer because you learn what works and doesn’t work for you. When you commit to stop smoking, you take the first step toward whole health improvements, including:

  • Reduced stress
  • Better physical and mental health
  • Increased energy
  • Improved effectiveness of some medications for anxiety and depression
  • An easier time abstaining from drugs and alcohol

It’s never too late to quit smoking. Whether you have tried once, twice or 15 times, take the lessons you’ve learned and try quitting again with new tools and a new approach. No matter how many times it takes, VA will be with you every step of the way, with more proven resources than ever before to help Veterans quit smoking.

VA’s tobacco cessation programs can help – anywhere, anytime.

VA has a range of treatment options for all Veterans who wish to quit smoking, available through all VA medical centers and community-based outpatient clinics. You may call, text, have an in-person appointment or have a telehealth visit with a provider for smoking cessation counseling.

A combination of treatments will increase your chance of quitting for good. Your provider may recommend combining counseling with FDA-approved prescription medications or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products. Those products may include gum, patches and lozenges that can help you transition away from smoking.

Treatment options

  • In-person counseling: Tobacco cessation counseling offers Veterans the best chance of becoming and staying smoke-free when combined with another cessation tool, such as medication or NRT products. VA offers group and individual counseling to talk about smoking, triggers and lifestyle changes that can help you overcome the urge to smoke. Cessation counseling is routinely provided through VA medical centers and community-based outpatient clinics.
  • Remote counseling: VA offers secure virtual appointments that you may attend from your home or another place of your choosing. Remote monitoring devices and tools – such as VA Video Connect, VA’s secure videoconferencing app – help bring your providers closer to you.
  • Medications and NRT: VA offers FDA-approved prescription medications as well as NRT to help relieve nicotine withdrawal symptoms and the cravings that come with quitting smoking. Your VA provider can guide you through the available options and help you decide which one might work best for you.
  • Quit VET: Veterans can call 1-855-QUIT-VET (1-855-784-8838) to receive tobacco cessation counseling and get help building their plan to quit smoking. Quitline counselors are available Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET. Counselors can help you prepare for potential challenges and avoid relapse. They also offer continued support through follow-up calls and counseling. Counseling is available in English or Spanish.
  • SmokefreeVET: For tools and tips you can use to quit smoking, sign up for SmokefreeVET by texting VET to 47848. SmokefreeVET provides regular text messages as well as extra support for Veterans. Text the keywords URGE, STRESS or SMOKED to 47848.
  • Para inscribirse en SmokefreeVET en español, manda el texto VETesp al 47848.

Take a moment

Take a moment to imagine your life without smoking. Then talk with your provider about which of VA’s tobacco treatment options might best meet your needs and improve your life, health and future.

Use the facility locator tool to find a VA facility near you.

By Kim Hamlett-Berry is the national mental health director for the Tobacco & Health, Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

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Published on Nov. 18, 2021

Estimated reading time is 4.5 min.

Views to date: 541

6 Comments

  1. Michael J Scoglietti November 24, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    Actually Both of us quit that afternoon. Cold Turkey. Speaking of Turkey, Happy Thanksgiving

  2. Michael J Scoglietti November 24, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    I quit 4 years ago after smoking 57 years. I started keeping a spreadsheat on how much I was spending on cigarettes. After 1 year, my wif & I spent over $15,000. I quit that very afternoon. Good Luck!

  3. Albert R Turner November 19, 2021 at 8:39 am

    How about extending the program to family members who live with Vets to cut down on second hand smoke, and to reduce future medical costs for Vets who live with smokers.

  4. Bob Wilson November 18, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    I quit smoking many years ago; but I have a lot of friends that are still trying to quit. Unfortunately; none of them are Vets like myself. Are there ways to get info, for the
    “friends” of Vets” ? thanks

  5. Carl November 18, 2021 at 6:48 pm

    WISH THE VA WOULD OFFER HYPNOSIS AS ANOTHER TOOL AS WELL……

  6. Raymond Echard November 18, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    I’ve tried the smoking sensation program in Buffalo Va. The phone calls are all over the place , 1 a week, then 3 weeks apart, then back to once a week. I asked for twice a week for the support I need. It never happened. How can 1 have a chance of quitting with this going on

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