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Don't overlook tobacco's impact on stress, depression
May is 'Mental Health Awareness Month' and on May 31, VA observes 'World No Tobacco Day.
On the surface, mental health and tobacco would seem to share little common ground -- most people think of tobacco and connect it to well-known illnesses like cancer and heart disease. However, the reality is that it can have considerable negative impact on your mental health as well.
Research shows that smoking can increase your feelings of anxiety, worsen the symptoms of PTSD, and even make medications less effective. You may connect smoking with relaxation, or reducing stress. But the relief felt by smoking is quickly overwhelmed by nicotine withdrawal. Quitting lowers your stress levels and eases symptoms of depression permanently, instead of the peaks and valleys experienced by tobacco users. When you quit, it also leads to reduced stress, less anxiety, and improved mood, in the long-term.
VA offers a range of services to provide information, advice, and support for Veterans making the decision to quit. Take the first step with a phone call to the 1-855-QUIT-VET tobacco quitline. From there you may want to receive ongoing encouragement through the SmokefreeVET texting service, VA has many other resources to support every step of the quitting process.
Visit VA's Mental Health and Tobacco website to learn more about the different kinds of resources, information, and support available to help Veterans quit tobacco.