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Smoking Cessation Program For Veterans Off To Big Start

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

One month after the Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) launched a joint veterans’ smoking cessation program at the State House, the quit line has received over 500 calls. On average, the quit line received 15-20 calls each day.

The program offers veterans and their families a free four-week supply of nicotine patches valued at $100 retail, along with informational resources on the benefits of quitting smoking, and tips on how to stop. Program participants will also receive free telephone support through the Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-Try-To-Stop to help them quit. The program will continue to run through June 30, 2009.

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“The response we’ve seen to this initiative is fantastic,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray, Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans’ Services. “With New Year’s resolution time just around the corner, I am hopeful that we’ll see even more of our veterans take advantage of this important program.”

Massachusetts veterans smoke at a higher rate than the general adult population: 24 percent as opposed to 18 percent, when adjusted for age (based on figures from 2005-07). Studies show that using medications such as the nicotine patch combined with support triples your chances of quitting smoking for good.

“Smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death and disease in the Commonwealth, and our veterans deserve support to help them live longer, healthier lives,” said DVS Secretary Tom Kelley.

The collaborative efforts on behalf of the Department of Veterans’ Services, the Department of Public Health, local VA Centers, local town’s Veteran Service Agents and veteran organizations has assured that veterans and families throughout the Commonwealth are aware of this new program.