WEST PALM BEACH — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is encouraging Veterans to take the first step, Nov. 19, to stop smoking as part of the annual Great American Smokeout to improve their physical and mental health by combining cessation counseling with other VA clinical resources and support.
Research shows behavioral counseling can significantly improve one’s chances of quitting and combining counseling and medication works better than medication or counseling alone.
“Smoking and the use of other tobacco products poses a significant health risk among Veterans that can result in increased hospitalizations and illness,” said West Palm Beach VA Medical Center Interim Director Cory Price. “Our team has a variety of resources to help Veterans who choose to quit tobacco and lead a healthier lifestyle. We encourage all Veterans to contact our clinical teams to discuss their smoking cessation options.”
The West Palm Beach VA offers tobacco, nicotine and smoking cessation services to Veterans via telehealth, allowing participation by using a telephone or a wireless device like a cellphone or tablet. To use telehealth services, patients must have cellular or internet service and an email address.
VA’s smoking counseling programs are one of the most effective tools available for Veterans who want to permanently stop smoking. VA health care providers can help Veterans explore the role tobacco plays in their daily routine, including the activities or situations that trigger someone to use tobacco products. These triggers can include talking on the phone, drinking coffee or alcohol or feeling bored or stressed. VA providers work with Veterans to develop strategies for coping with those triggers and to tailor plans for quitting that will fit into each Veteran’s everyday life.
In addition to counseling, VA provides other services designed to help Veterans stop smoking, including prescription medications, nicotine-replacement products like gum and patches and resources such as Quit VET and SmokefreeVET.
For more information about tobacco cessation, contact Regina Pavone, PhD, Clinical Health Psychologist at (561) 599-0034 or visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov/quit-tobacco.