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Mil Med. 2014 May;179(5):472-6. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-13-00380.

No wrong door to smoking cessation care: a Veterans Affairs Chaplain survey.

Author information

  • 1Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC), Durham, NC 27705.
  • 2Veterans Affairs National Public Health Tobacco & Health: Policy and Programs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW Washington, DC 20420.


Cigarette smoking disproportionately affects veterans, particularly those with psychiatric diagnoses. Chaplains working within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) play key roles in emotional, physical, and spiritual health care of veterans, and veterans often turn to chaplains with mental health concerns. The VA/Department of Defense Integrated Mental Health Care Strategy is working to understand how collaboration between chaplains and mental health professionals may improve services to veterans, and one interest area is the role chaplains might play in facilitating the dissemination of smoking cessation programs. We report the survey results of 321 VA chaplains regarding their interest and willingness to be involved in smoking cessation efforts. Results indicated that over 80% of responding chaplains would feel "somewhat" or "very comfortable" providing information to veterans about VA smoking cessation programs, and that a smaller majority (between 55% and 85%) would feel this level of comfort engaging in smoking cessation-related activities. Findings suggest the potential for collaboration among chaplains and mental health providers in smoking cessation efforts, and also point to the need for further discussion and deeper mutual understanding between these professionals in how they view their roles in contributing to the overall health and well-being of veterans.

Reprint & Copyright © 2014 Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S.

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