Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center
Are you ready to quit smoking?
If you smoke, you probably remember your first cigarette. Now, the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center wants to help you remember your last.
Stamping out your last cigarette isn’t easy, but the Dole VA is committed to providing the tools and expertise to help you every step of the way. VA offers medications to help curb your cravings, mobile phone apps to get support when you need a motivational boost, and one of the most effective methods for quitting tobacco: cessation counseling.
“Seven out of every ten Veterans who smoke would like to quit,” said Candace Ifabiyi, Medical Center Director for the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center. “Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical, so getting help and support with quitting is very important to being successful at it.”
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one reason it’s so difficult to stop smoking is that “smokers’ brains have learned to smoke. Just like unlearning to ride a bike, it is incredibly hard to unlearn that simple, mildly rewarding behavior of lighting up a cigarette.”
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.
Megan Walters, a Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker who is also a Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselor and heads up the tobacco cessation program at the Dole VA, says it is important to consider all the factors in your life that contribute to tobacco use.
“It can be helpful to group these factors into three main categories: physical factors, habits and psychological factors such as your thoughts and emotions,” Walters continued. “Then the Primary Care Mental Health Integration Team (PC-MHI) can support a Veteran who is ready to quit smoking with brief interventions targeted at changing their behavior.”
If you are ready to quit smoking or simply want more information to get started on the path to quitting, please call the Dole VA at (316) 928-0028 and visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov/quit-tobacco.