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United States Department  of Veterans Affairs

Smoking and Tobacco Use Cessation

Three smiling people Veterans who receive their health care through VA are much more likely to smoke and use tobacco than the rest of the U.S. population. They also are heavier smokers and have higher rates of smoking-related illnesses. Many veterans have told us that they first began smoking in the military. In fact, during World War II and the Korean War, cigarettes were often provided free as part of K- rations. Many in the military thought then that smoking was a good way to help keep soldiers alert and awake in the battlefield and the command, "smoke 'em if you got 'em" is one that many older veterans remember. Recruits may have even been able to earn smoking breaks during military training and boot camp. Unfortunately, this early tobacco use led quickly to a lifetime addiction and a wide list of health-related problems. Getting Started

Why Should I Quit? (Word Doc 34K)

Smoking still is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S. Each year, about 440,000 Americans die of diseases related to smoking. At any given time, 70% of all smokers will say that they want to quit. Even though they may really want to quit, the majority of smokers find that it is very difficult to quit. Even the most motivated smoker may find that they try to quit 5 or 6 times before they are finally able to quit. Over 3 million Americans quit every year and the Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to doing everything to support veterans as they attempt to quit. Please remember that quitting smoking may be one of the hardest things that you ever have to do, but you don't have to do it alone.

TRICARE has partnered with VA so that Veterans are provided tobacco cessation support. Quit Tobacco: Make Everyone Proud, offers help for quitting tobacco for good. Online tools include live chat services, personalized quit plans, and other resources. Go to the VA Veterans section on this site for more information.

Get Ready: Benefits of change, how to start healthy living, and special situations

Self-Management: Understand and track your progress through use of various health tools

Support and Encouragement: How family and friends can support healthy living and personal accounts of how others have dealt with the condition

Caregiver Information: Caregiver resources and when to get additional help

Reviewed/Updated Date: October 30, 2006
Clinical Advisory Board Sponsor: Dr. Linda Kinsinger
Clinical Subject Matter Experts: Dr. Kim Hamlett-Berry, Dr. Linda Kinsinger
Patient Education Subject Matter Experts: Dr. Rose Mary Pries, Dr. Pam Hebert

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