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Military Service Members and Veterans

Know the Facts

If you are currently serving in the military, you're more likely to smoke cigarettes than civilians. Smoking is even more common for those of you who have been deployed.

Smoking increases your risk for lung cancer, heart disease, chronic bronchitis, and many other diseases.

For More Information

  • Detailed Statistics Learn about smoking in specific populations and the current rates of cigarette smoking in the United States.

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Real Stories: Military Service Members & Veterans Featured in Tips

Learn the real stories of military service members & veterans who are suffering from smoking-related diseases and disabilities.

JamesMeet James. James, age 48, lives in New York and began smoking at age 14. He quit smoking in 2010 to reduce his risk for health problems and now bikes 10 miles every day.

MichaelMeet Michael. Michael, age 57, lives in Alaska and began smoking at age 9. At 44, he was diagnosed with COPD — chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — which makes it harder and harder to breathe and can cause death.

NathanMeet Nathan. Nathan lived in Idaho. A member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, he was exposed to secondhand smoke at work that caused permanent lung damage and triggered asthma attacks so severe he had to leave his job. His illness led to his death on October 17, 2013. He was 54.

Learn more about all Tips participants in our Real Stories section.

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Quitting Help

Military Service Members and Their Families

There has never been a better time to quit. The following Department of Defense (DoD)-sponsored site offers free help for those of you in the military, including active duty personnel and your families:

To get started right now, see our I'm Ready to Quit! area, featuring a Quit Guide and an additional Quitting Resources page.

Veterans Enrolled for Care in the Veterans Affairs Health Care System

If you are a veteran enrolled for care in the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system and you're ready to quit smoking, VA can help. Please contact your primary care team today to learn more about what's available to help you quit. Smoking cessation counseling is available at all VA medical centers, and FDA-approved smoking cessation medications are available through all VA pharmacy programs.

To find the VA health care facility nearest you, go to the Veterans Health Administration Facility Locator. To learn more about quitting smoking, please go to the Quit Smoking section of the VA Web site.

For more information, please visit the Tobacco and Health home page on the VA Web site.


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Mark smoked from his teen years, through military service in the Persian Gulf during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and up until he got rectal cancer at age 42.

"All the negative effects of smoking that you think are never going to happen, like getting colorectal cancer, they happen. Trust me."