Madison VA looking to recruit 500 veterans not ready to quit smoking

Dr. Jessica Cook Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and David Murray Associate Director Patient Care Services/Nurse Executive at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin pose next to a poster announcing the Veteran Smokers Health Study. (Source: William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital)
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Medical researchers at Madison's William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital are looking for 500 veterans for a study into ways to help veterans who smoke and aren't ready to quit.

The hospital noted that many veterans became addicted to tobacco while serving their country. UW-CTRI Researcher Dr. Jessica Cook, who is leading the study, called the effort "a way of giving back to veterans who have sacrificed a great deal during their service by assisting those who need it most."

Researchers received a million dollar grant from the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs for the study and Cook says her team plans to use it to offer telemedicine visits for the veterans who smoke, helping them reach rural veterans who could not afford to the trip to Madison for visits.

Veterans who smoke may receive $40 for calling 608-280-2213 to learn more about the study.

According to the hospital, researchers will be evaluating the Enchanced Chronic Care treatment, which offers ongoing motivational interventions and interpersonal support for veterans who aren't ready to quit. They will provide counseling and medications to veterans who plan to continue smoking or are willing to modify their smoking habits and will help them quit if they decide they want to.

They say by focusing on modifying smoking patterns, they can help people gain more control over their addiction. Cook called it "an attainable first step" in a path toward quitting.

“We hope this study will help us identify an effective smoking treatment strategy for VA clinical practice,” Cook said. “Helping more veterans quit smoking will improve the health of veterans across the VA.”

In all, researchers plan to recruit 250 veterans to receive the Enhanced Chronic Care intervention and another 250 who will get Standard Care. They will offer nicotine gum and lozenges and counseling to those willing to modify their smoking patterns.