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Great American Smokeout: Why We Quit

Multiple attempts to quit are normal, each attempt gets you closer to your goal

Are you ready to stop smoking? The American Cancer Society's 41st annual Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 16, is the perfect time to plan your quit program. The Great American Smokeout calls on smokers to make a plan to quit or light their last cigarette.

This year, alongside the Great American Smokeout, VA launched the "Why We Quit" campaign to help Veterans like you make the choice to quit smoking. Quitting is hard work, and may take multiple attempts. On average, it can take 8-10 tries. Though this can be frustrating, every attempt at quitting gets you closer to your goal. Creating a quit plan is an excellent place to start. Visit Build Your Quit Plan on the SmokefreeVET website, a collaborative effort between VA and the National Cancer Institute to learn more.

Whether you want to quit to improve your mental and physical well-being, protect your family's health or save money, now is the time to quit for good. The good news is you're not alone. More than half of smokers enrolled in VA health care have tried to stop in the past year. Quitting can improve your mood, decrease feelings of depression and anxiety, and even help certain medications work better. It's important to know that it's possible to quit, especially with support.

Below are some VA resources that can help:

Local VA Providers

Talk to your primary care doctor or mental health counselor. They will help you find the combination of counseling and medication that is right for you. Local VA medical centers offer a range of programs, including individual counseling, group classes, telephone clinics and telehealth.

Quit VET

If you have an urge that won't go away, call 1-855-QUIT-VET ASAP, a toll-free national quitline for Veterans who receive their health care at VA. Callers to 1-855-QUIT-VET (1-855-784-8838) will work with a tobacco counselor to build a quit plan and discuss strategies for staying on track.


Receive daily tips and encouragement via text message from SmokefreeVET. Text VET to 47848 to receive daily encouragement. You can also text keywords such as "STRESS" or "SMOKED" to receive an immediate response.

Stay Quit Coach

Download this mobile app designed to help Veterans quit tobacco, with tools and information specifically addressing the needs of Veterans with PTSD. Stay Quit Coach is available for free from both iTunes and Google Play.

These are only a few tools to help you quit tobacco. Please talk to your VA health care provider via Secure Messaging to find out how they can help you quit.

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Updated November 8, 2017