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Iron Mountain VA encourages vets to leave smoking behind

Today is the Great American Smokeout, the annual effort that encourages and offers support to smokers to make a plan to quit smoking.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is encouraging veterans to take that first step today 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.

“The Great American Smokeout is a starting point on a journey to a smoke-free life,” said Jim Rice, director at the Iron Mountain VA Medical Center. “VA has excellent, proven resources to help you quit smoking.”

VA’s smoking counseling programs are among 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 such as gum and patches and resources like Quit VET and SmokefreeVET.

For more information about tobacco cessation, go to www.mentalhealth.va.gov/quit-tobacco and/or contact Dr. Brenda Reed, a certified tobacco treatment specialist at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center at 906-774-3300, toll free 800-215-8262, ext. 32774.

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