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Great American Smokeout: 'Better Starts Today'

Multiple attempts to quit smoking are normal; each attempt gets you closer

Are you ready to stop smoking? The American Cancer Society's 43rd annual Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 21 is the perfect time to build your plan on how to quit for good. The Great American Smokeout calls on smokers to decide to quit, stick to it, and become smoke-free.

This year, for Great American Smokeout, VA launched the "Better Starts Today" campaign to help Veterans like you choose to quit smoking. Stopping smoking 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. You can develop your plan on the Build Your Quit Plan on the SmokefreeVET website, a collaborative effort between VA and the National Cancer Institute.

Whether you want to stop smoking 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. Of Veterans who have ever smoked and are enrolled in VA health care, 71 percent have successfully quit smoking. 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:

Your Local VA Facility

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 tried to stop smoking and you have an urge that won't go away, call 1-855-QUIT-VET today. Quit VET is a toll-free national quitline open Monday through Friday (9am - 9pm ET) available to Veterans who receive their health care at VA. Callers to 1-855-QUIT-VET (1-855-784-8838) will work with a quitline counselor to build a quit plan and discuss strategies for staying on track. Counselors can also provide scheduled follow-up calls to help you meet your goals. Counseling is also available in Spanish.


Receive daily tips and encouragement via text message from SmokefreeVET. Text VET to 47848 to receive regular support and quit tips. You can also text keywords such as "STRESS" or "SMOKED" to receive an immediate response. A Spanish language version is also available by texting VETesp to 47848.

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 sign in and talk to your VA health care provider via Secure Messaging to find out how they can help you quit.

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SmokefreeVET (National Cancer Institute)

Stay Quit Coach (VA Mobile App)

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Updated November 18, 2019