The last Monday in May is Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor the men and women who gave their lives in service to their country. Living freedom to the fullest by reducing unnecessary health risks is one way to honor the memories of those who've died.

Just around the corner from Memorial Day is World No Tobacco Day, or WNTD, on May 31, sponsored by the World Health Organization. This year, for the first time, the Department of Defense is endorsing the observance of WNTD by encouraging military personnel to participate. The effort is part of the DoD's multiyear tobacco cessation campaign, Quit Tobacco-Make Everyone Proud.

"On Memorial Day, when we reflect on the sacrifices our fallen heroes made so that we can live free, it seems that World No Tobacco Day comes at a perfect time," said Capt. David Arday, a physician and U.S. Public Health Service officer and chairman of the DoD Alcohol and Tobacco Advisory Committee. "Freedom from tobacco addiction is not a sacrifice; it's a way to live our lives to honor those who gave us our freedom. This is a great opportunity for servicemen and women to connect to others on their installation, across the country and around the globe in a worldwide event to take a public stand and make a personal commitment in the fight against tobacco."

Health promotions staff members at installations are encouraging their patients and clients to sign the online pledge at www.ucanquit2.org/facts/WNTD and accept the challenge to become tobacco free on WNTD. There are free promotional and informational items available to order or download online to help stage events, plus specially designed e-cards visitors can send to encourage friends and Family to give up tobacco. Military personnel also can use the e-card to announce their intention to quit.

The campaign headquarters atwww.ucanquit2.org offers the latest high-tech ways to connect with others on the road to becoming tobacco free. The site has launched a Twitter page at www.twitter.com/ucanquit2, and anyone who signs up can follow the site's activities and news, including tobacco and other related health information.

Visitors can take advantage of other social networking opportunities, such as being a friend at MySpace, tuning in to the videos and making comments at the YouTube page and becoming a fan of the campaign's Facebook page. On Facebook, there's a new feature that allows users to announce to others they've quit and to congratulate friends and Family who've made the commitment to quit tobacco.

For those who want their own private area to concentrate on tobacco cessation, the campaign Web site offers users "My Quit Space," where they can create a customized quit plan and calendar. Blogging options include starting a private blog or publishing it for others to read and make comments.

The site has gone mobile, which is perfect for the enlisted community. Users can point their mobile browsers to http://m.ucanquit2.org, the new mobile ucanquit2 Web site, to find cessation programs across America to help them quit tobacco and access important tobacco cessation news.

Getting support from others is an important weapon in winning the battle against tobacco, which is recognized as an obstacle to optimal readiness and performance for the armed services.

"Committing to participate in World No Tobacco Day on May 31 is a one-day test run for what could be the beginning of a tobacco-free lifestyle for service men and women," Arday said.
For more information, visit TRICARE's special Web page geared to quit tobacco efforts, www.tricare.mil/tobaccofree.

Page last updated Mon May 25th, 2009 at 12:42