Truman VA Advocates for the Great American Smokeout

Nov 16, 2016

Credit Sudipto Sarkar / flickr

The Truman VA hospital in Columbia is participating in the Great American Smokeout on November 17 as a day geared towards helping people quit smoking.

Put on by the American Cancer Society, thousands of smokers across the nation will attempt to quit, even if it’s just for the day.

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, “While 57% of the U.S. population has never smoked cigarettes, just 32% of Veterans receiving health care from VA report they never smoked.”

Truman VA and the national VA offer several options to help its veterans kick the habit.

SmokefreeVET is a mobile text messaging service for military Veterans who receive their health care through the VA. The service sends text updates to subscribers to educate and support them for a period of 14 days.

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs website, 70 percent of Veterans who use tobacco would like to quit.

American Cancer Society Communications Director Christine Winter agrees there is a large population of veterans who smoke who have a desire to quit.

“I think there’s a lot of people out there,” Winter says. “I think it just depends on where you are personally or as a group in terms of trying to conquer this.”

For veteran smokers that are in the early stages of quitting, the Truman VA offers the “Thinking about Quitting” class.

Public Affairs Officer of Truman VA Hospital Stephen Gaither says the introduction class “really explains all the processes on how to quit tobacco and to as they say, stay quit.”

When they are more serious about permanently exterminating the habit, Truman VA offers a Quit Program. The program focuses on learning strategies to strike down physical and emotional dependence on tobacco.

In addition to the other options, the VA's national tobacco cessation quit-line, 1-855-QUIT VET, is a telephone coaching hotline which can be called anytime. The coaches help callers make changes on their own schedule.

The Truman VA Tobacco Cessation Team will be in the Truman VA lobby for the Great American Smokeout on November 17 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. They will have handouts about quitting and information about the VA Tobacco Cessation Program.