Great American Smokeout: Salem VA encourages veterans to quit smoking

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The Department of Veterans Affairs is encouraging veterans to take the first step to 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.

“About one in five Veterans is a cigarette smoker, and more than 14 percent of veterans enrolled in VA healthcare are current smokers. Smoking contributes to anxiety, panic, depression and for women, health effects include difficulty in getting pregnant, early menopause, osteoporosis, and cervical and breast cancers,” said Rebecca Stackhouse, executive director of the Salem VA Health Care System. “The good news is that 70 percent of Veterans who smoke have said they would like to quit, and studies have shown that success in quitting tobacco leads to success in quitting alcohol and other drugs.”

People interested in Smoking Cessation programs and medications at the Salem VA Health Care System, should call 540-982-2463 Ext. 1790.

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 like gum and patches and resources such as Quit VET and SmokefreeVET.

For more information about tobacco cessation, call 540-982-2463 Ext. 2498 or www.mentalhealth.va.gov/quit-tobacco.


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