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How to vanquish vaping and kick tobacco to the curb

GEHA | August 11, 2020

Smoking cessation
If you use any tobacco products, the United States Surgeon General recommends that you stop.

Electronic-cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, come in a variety of styles and names. But whether you are vaping something that looks like a USB stick, inhaling an e-hookah modeled after a pipe or taking a drag from what appears to be a pen, the bottom line is the same: Smoking of any kind is detrimental to your health.

E-cigarettes contain an aerosol that users breathe from the device and exhale. This aerosol may contain nicotine, flavoring containing diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease, cancer-causing chemicals, heavy metals, including nickel, tin and lead, and ultrafine particles that can go deep in the lungs.

There are still many unanswered questions regarding the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes. These devices are still fairly new and scientists are still studying them. Their work is compounded by the fact that it is difficult to know the contents of e-cigarette products. Some items marketed as containing zero nicotine have been found to contain nicotine.

If you use any tobacco products – including e-cigarettes, traditional cigarettes, chewing tobacco or any other product containing tobacco – the United States Surgeon General recommends that you stop. There are many benefits to quitting tobacco, including improved health and financial savings.

Five ways to make quitting easier

Quitting tobacco is not easy, but there are several ways to make it easier.

Make a list of the reasons why you are quitting. This may include how tobacco effects your relationships, how much money is spent on tobacco products, how it effects the way you think and feel and what you are most looking forward to doing after quitting.

Set a quit date. Give yourself time to get ready, but don’t put it off for too long or pick a day that will be stressful, such as tax day, a family visit or presentation at work or school.

Realize there will be challenges. Don’t get caught up in the long-term view. Take it one day (or one hour) at a time. Realize that certain people, feelings or situations may trigger a desire to use tobacco try to avoid them.

Imagine yourself tobacco-free. Start thinking of yourself as a tobacco-free person. Make a list of all your positive attributes that don’t involve tobacco and place them in a prominent spot. Compare who you are now with your vision of yourself in the future and examine how tobacco use gets in the way of that vision.

Build a team. Ask for help and be specific with what you need from each teammate, such as encouragement, reminders or simply to listen. Be appreciative of the people who are helping you and support them as well. Conversely, distance yourself from unsupportive people, remind yourself why you are quitting and lean on your support team for positivity. Ask your doctor how he or she can help and talk to a tobacco cessation counselor by calling 800.QUIT.NOW.

GEHA can help

GEHA wants to be part of your tobacco cessation team. GEHA’s medical plans offer 100% coverage to help you quit smoking. No copays, coinsurance, deductibles, dollar limits or in-network or out-of-network differentiation. GEHA’s smoking cessation benefits include:

  • Up to four sessions of counseling for each attempt to quit, with two attempts to quit covered each year.
  • Both over-the-counter* (with a physician's prescription) and prescription drugs approved for smoking cessation.

*Nicotine gum is covered, but you must get a prescription from your doctor or receive the drugs as part of a plan-approved tobacco cessation program for it to be covered with no copays and coinsurance.

For more information, call GEHA Customer Care at 800.821.6136 or consult your GEHA Plan Brochure. For more information on the FEHB tobacco cessation benefit, visit OPM's Quit Smoking webpage.

This is a brief description of the features of the Elevate, HDHP, Standard Option, Elevate Plus and High Option plan. Before making a final decision, please read the plan's Federal brochure RI 71-006, RI 71-014 or RI 71-018, available at All benefits are subject to the definitions, limitations, and exclusions set forth in the Federal brochure.


“About electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, February 24, 2020.
“How to quit vaping.”, National Institutes of Health, no date provided.
“Smoking cessation: A report of the Surgeon General.”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 January, 2020.