More than 400,000 American smokers die every year. That’s more than alcohol, cocaine, heroin, homicide, suicide, car accidents and HIV deaths combined, according to the VA Public Health website.
Veterans protect and even give their lives for their country. However, the shocking number of deaths due to cigarette smoke alone mocks that selfless act. Many veterans return home to find their comrades and the civilians they worked to protect deteriorating from the adverse effects of both first- and second-hand smoke.
The battle against America’s addiction to cigarettes is not an easy one. However, the VA and a number of organizations provide veterans and civilians with tools that can help them overcome this addiction.
The VA hosts an anti-smoking program for the nation’s service members. Their goal is to provide the necessary healthcare and/or counseling for any member who wants to quit.
Veterans can talk to their local VA health care providers. They help service members set a goal for when to stop. They also offer smokers prescriptions for things that help curb powerful nicotine addiction, such as patches, gum and medications.
Veterans can also choose to go to Smoking Cessation Clinics, which provide group and individual counseling. In the sessions, counselors reinforce some valuable techniques such as setting goals, surrounding yourself with enthusiastic supporters, anticipating possible setbacks, reviewing what works and what does not, and questioning why it’s crucial to quit.
To find a local VA Health Care Provider, visit the VA’s directory.
Veterans can also call 1-877-222-8387.
Photo thanks to lanier67 under creative common license on Flickr.