Do you smoke? Today is the day to stop.

U.S. Army Spc. William Lang, 25, from Dallas, Texas, assigned to the Kapisa-Parwan Provincial Reconstruction Team, smokes a cigarette while waiting to go out on mission from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan on Aug. 9.
Photo credit Photo by Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade
By Connecting Vets

The military has a smoking problem. 

1 in 3 servicemembers smokes. If you served overseas, the numbers go up.  

And just because you're out doesn't mean its much better. The CDC says that between 2000-2015, 1 in 5 veterans reported they smoked cigarettes.

Today is the Great American Smokeout, the national effort to help smokers stop smoking.

Veterans Affairs has an entire smoking cessation program aimed at veterans who use VA healthcare.  

The first place to start is VA’s free telephone quitline, 1-855-QUIT-VET (1-855-784-8838), which offers smoking cessation counseling to veterans who receive their health care through VA. Quit VET is staffed by trained counselors — whether you are just starting your journey or trying to get back on track after a slip up.

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Prefer to get a message of encouragement from your phone? Sign up for SmokefreeVET by texting VET to 47848 to receive texts with tips and tools on how to beat the urge to smoke. For alerts in Spanish, text VETesp to 47848.

Contact your VA doctor to talk about nicotine patches, gum or lozenges — or other medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration — to help manage the withdrawal symptoms as you quit.

No more e-tobacco, vape products for sale at AAFES

If you use TRICARE, you can access smoking cessation medication at no cost.

The reasons to quit are plentiful: smoking increases your risk for lung cancer, heart disease, chronic bronchitis, and many other diseases. Plus it's expensive: the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) says in 2010 it spent an estimated $2.7 billion on smoking-related healthcare including prescription drugs, hospitalizations, and home health care.

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