Quit for a day, quit for life! It may be the best thing you’ll ever do for your health.
- Why should I quit?
- How do I quit? The basics of what works
- What is available through my VA health care facility?
- Where can I learn more about how to quit and stay quit?
- What are the health effects of secondhand smoke?
Why should I quit?
No matter how old you are, quitting smoking is the single most effective thing you can do to improve your health.
It is never too late to quit. In fact, older smokers are more likely to be successful than younger smokers.
Tobacco use kills more than 440,000 Americans each year—more than alcohol, cocaine, heroin, homicide, suicide, car accidents, and HIV/AIDS combined.
Smokers are also at higher risk for:
- Increased depression and anxiety
- A shorter life (smokers die 13-15 years earlier than non-smokers)
- Lung disease, such as bronchitis or emphysema
- Cancers of the lung, mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, cervix, kidney, and bladder
- Heart disease and stroke
- Sexual impotence and infertility
- Cataracts, skin wrinkling, and skin discoloration
- Increased use of other drugs and alcohol
- Pregnancy complications
How do I quit? The basics of what works
Talk to your VA health care provider at your nearest VA health care facility today to get basic information about how to quit.
VA providers are working hard to make sure that any tobacco user who wants effective treatment can get it in our health care system. We know that brief counseling is helpful, as are medications to help with smoking cessation. Your provider may talk to you briefly about setting a date to quit and preparing. He or she also should provide you with a prescription for nicotine replacement therapy, such as the nicotine patch or gum, or other medications. These will help to reduce your cravings. This is important, as using these medications will double or triple your chances of successfully quitting.
Break Free from Smoking
Video Length: 03:25
In addition to working with your VA health care provider, there are things you can do to get ready to quit:
- Set a quit date
- Talk to your friends and family and your co-workers about getting support.
- Anticipate challenges to trying to quit, particularly for the first few days.
- Review your past attempts at quitting. What worked? What didn’t?
- Keep in mind all the reasons for quitting that are most important to you.
There are other things to do that some have found helpful:
- Remember to remove all cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays from your home, car, and work.
- Make sure that you get enough rest and keep plenty of healthy snacks available.
- You may want to begin a regular exercise program.
- Put the money that you would normally spend on cigarettes or tobacco in a jar and plan to spend that on something that you can work towards to reward yourself.
What is available through my VA health care facility?
You can talk with your VA health care provider about getting brief counseling to help you quit. In addition, you may receive a prescription for nicotine gum, patch, or lozenge or for bupropion, another medication for smoking cessation. You also can ask for a referral to a Smoking Cessation Clinic if you would like to attend one. Smoking Cessation Clinics have group or individual counseling.
To find the nearest VA health care facility:
- Go to VA Facility Locator
- Call toll-free 1-877-222-8387
Where can I learn more about how to quit and stay quit?
There are a number of websites that you can visit to learn more about quitting tobacco use. Here are just a few:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/tobacco - See under ‘Resources For You’
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: www.surgeongeneral.gov/tobacco
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: www.ahrq.gov/path/tobacco.htm - See ‘Help for Tobacco Users’
- National Cancer Institute: www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/tobacco
What are the health effects of secondhand smoke?
Approximately 50,000 Americans die each year as a result of breathing other people’s smoke. You can help save the health of those you love by quitting smoking.
The 2006 U.S. Surgeon General Report on the health effects of secondhand smokers concluded that secondhand smoke causes early death and disease in children and adults who do not smoke.
Non-smoking spouses of smokers are more likely to have heart disease or lung cancer than if they were not exposed to smoke in the home. Infants and children who are exposed to smoke are at higher risk for dangerous diseases, such as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), severe respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and asthma. The most effective way to make sure that your children never smoke is to not smoke.
Learn more about secondhand smoke.
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For help quitting smoking:
- » Visit the nearest VA health care facility
- » Call 1-877-222-8387