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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 among specific populations and the current rates of cigarette smoking in the United States.

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Real Stories: Military Service Members and Veterans Featured in Tips

Learn the real stories of military service members and 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.

MarkMeet Mark. Mark, age 47, lives in California and started smoking as a teenager. He continued smoking during military service in the Persian Gulf and in civilian life until he developed rectal cancer at age 42.

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

There has never been a better time to quit. To get started right now, see our I'm Ready to Quit! area, featuring a Quit Guide and an additional Quitting Resources page.

You can also call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). Quitline coaches can answer questions, help you develop a quit plan, and provide support.

Active duty and retired service members, you and your families can access cessation counseling, cessation medicines, quitlines, and other services through your TRICARE coverage and Department of Defense programs.

For Active Duty Service Members, Civilians, and Their Families

Military OneSource is a resource available to active duty service members; immediate family members; and in some cases, civilians. (Please check their Web site for specific eligibility guidelines, which is listed under the Confidential Help tab.)

Following are helpful, free quit resources available on this site:

Check the Web site periodically for additional resources.

For Military Service Members and Their Families

The following resources offer free help for those of you who are on active duty or who are retired:

For 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

Following is a list of additional free quit resources:

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Brian

Brian, age 60, was a heavy smoker for more than 35 years. He had his first heart attack at age 35 while he was stationed in England. An Air Force veteran, Brian experienced several heart problems throughout his military career. In July 2012, he received a heart transplant after quitting smoking for good. 

“If I’m around after everything I’ve been through, other people can have hope, too.”

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