Most people make several efforts before they stop using tobacco forever. Whether you are ready to try for the first time or the next time, remember: every effort helps you get closer to your goal.
Work with your VA provider to explore what works – and what does not – for you. They can help you identify your triggers and learn ways to handle them without tobacco.
VA encourages Veterans to use a combination of counseling and medication to stop using tobacco. There are many treatment options available through VA. If you’ve tried once before, try again. No matter how many times it takes, VA will work with you to find the combination of options – including a variety of proven, effective therapies and medications – that are right for you.
Do not stop trying. Try to stop, even if you’ve tried once, twice, 15 times or never before.
Find your motivation
It can help you reach your goal of considering how your life can improve once you are tobacco free. For some people, this may mean exercising harder, playing longer with their children, eliminating smoking breaks at work, and enjoying time with friends, uninterrupted by the need to use tobacco.
Some may find a financial incentive to save money spent on cigarettes or smokeless tobacco. Whatever your motivation, VA can help you identify it and focus on it.
Do not stop doing things you enjoy. Stop using tobacco to enjoy those things more.
Explore your options
It is rarely easy to stop tobacco use, but VA has helped many veterans stop chewing, dipping and smoking. We can help you too. VA has many approaches to ending your relationship with tobacco, including the best combination of tools for long-term success:
- Tobacco cessation counseling can help you make changes to your behavior that will break your emotional ties with tobacco use. VA offers counseling, in person or by phone, to talk about your tobacco use and to identify strategies to deal with the triggers that make you want to use tobacco.
Counseling helps you identify changes you can make to your routine that can help you quit.
- FDA-approved medications, such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), the patch, gum, rhombus, and bupropion and varenicline can help you manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms and overcome the urge to smoke.
Your VA healthcare provider can help you decide which options are likely to work best for you. You can sign up for My HealtheVet to access support and contact your VA primary care or mental health care provider.
Do not stop trying. Try to stop – with VA’s help.
Embrace your opportunities
Every week, month and year spent without tobacco brings new opportunities to improve your quality of life. Talk this World No Tobacco Day (May 31), with your primary care or mental health provider about the many VA resources that can help you quit using tobacco, including:
- Stop FAT: Veterans can call 1-855-QUIT-VET (1-855-784-8838) to receive counseling to receive tobacco cessation and get help building their plan to stop. Quitline counselors are available Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET to help veterans prepare for potential challenges and avoid relapse. These tobacco cessation counselors provide ongoing support through follow-up calls and counseling.
- SmokefreeVET: For tools and tips to quit, Veterans can sign up at SmokefreeVET by texting VET to 47848. SmokefreeVET provides regular text messages as well as extra support at Veterans’ fingertips when they ENGINE the keywords, STRESS, DIP or SMOKE to 47848. For subscription and SmokefreeVET en español, manda el texto VETesp al 47848.
When ready, VA can assist with tobacco cessation and medication counseling provided by all VA medical centers and community-based outpatient clinics. To find the VA location closest to you, visit www.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp.
Do not stop trying. Try to stop – as many times as it takes.
Courtesy of the VA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Tobacco and Health Program.