My Sincere Thank You to the Veterans among us who sacrificed and served our Country so valiantly! You truly are my heroes! I praise you even more highly for making the decision to Quit Smoking and to stand up for your Freedom from Addiction!
Sadly, in the United States, cigarette smoking is higher among people currently serving in the military than among the civilian population. Cigarette smoking is even higher among military service people who have been deployed.
According to the CDC:
- In 2011, 24.0% of all active-duty military personnel reported currently smoking cigarettes, compared with 19.0% of civilians.
- During 2007–2010, male veterans aged 25–64 years were more likely to be current smokers than nonveterans (29.0% versus 24.0%).
Although cigarette rations became illegal in the mid-70s, free cigarettes for soldiers and targeted promotions were still common as recently as the Gulf War.
It's no surprise that Veterans have more mental health issues such as PTSD and depression than the general population, given the experiences they have endured in combat. These mental health problems are linked to the high smoking rates among Veterans.
Research has been focused on Veterans with depression, but also has found that the Veterans who smoked had more severe depression than those who didn’t smoke, and they were also more likely to have PTSD. In addition, the Veterans who smoked also drank more heavily than those who don’t.
Due to the mental health issues faced by many Veterans, behavioral counseling is an especially valuable approach for Smoking Cessation for Veterans. This can not only help them quit smoking, but it can also help them acquire coping mechanisms for psychological, emotional or other issues related to PTSD and help them talk through other problems such as adjustment to civilian life upon return.
Veterans, you spent your lives protecting us, and now we need to protect and support you in your Quit Journey!