FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Second hand smoke has been found to cause premature death and disease in children and adults who do not smoke. Millions of Americans are still exposed to second hand smoke despite much progress regarding tobacco control. The only way to protect non-smokers from the harmful effects of passive smoking is to eliminate exposure. Womack Army Medical Center feels it's important to aid in the fight against the number one preventable cause of premature disease and death.

There are 4000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, 200 of them are poisons and 68 are known to cause cancer. Children exposed to second hand smoke have an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory infections, more severe asthma, ear problems, eye and nose irritation, cavities, and irritability. Passive smoking is known to cause heart disease to include narrowing of the arteries that bring blood to the heart and brain. Even pets have been known to have health issues related to their owners' smoking habits.

There has also been a growing awareness of third hand smoke. This relatively new term describes the sticky residue that clings to our cloths, curtains, carpets and furniture for as long as days and weeks afterwards. Tobacco residue is even present in the dust where smoking has occurred. A child could put their hands in their mouth after touching that surface and ingest the toxins. There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke according to the 2006 Surgeon Generals' report.

WAMC and all Fort Bragg medical facilities are providing a smoke-free environment for its patients, visitors and staff. WAMC leadership, in partnership with AFGE Local 1770, is restricting tobacco use to three locations ensuring non-smokers are not exposed to the harmful effects of passive smoking. These locations will be located at the orthopedic entrance gazebo, a covered shelter between parking lots A and B, on the All American Side of the hospital, and at the end of the sidewalk in parking lot G on the Reilly Road entrance side.

On Nov. 17, in coordination with Great American Smokeout events, WAMC Leaders, as well as Tobacco Use Cessation Committee members, unveiled signs for a "Tobacco Free Campus."

For smokers and dippers, not using tobacco for any period of time may be difficult. Tobacco cessation classes will now be available to Department of the Army civilians as well as active-duty Soldiers, Family members and retirees. Federal Health Employee Benefits for civilian employees will also cover 100 percent of their provider visit and the seven FDA approved medications.

Administrated leave must be requested to attend classes. Call Army Public Health Nursing 907-9355 or attend the "Ready to Quit Tobacco Brief" offered at the WAMC Family Medicine Conference room at noon, every Thursday. Some of the outlying clinics also offer Ready to Quit briefs and the four-week Tobacco Cessation Programs.

The Great American Smokeout is a nationwide effort to get smokers to quit. On Nov. 17, APHN's and Army Wellness Center staff coordinated Ready To Quit Tobacco briefs throughout post to encourage and assist users to quit all tobacco products. They provided the resources, information and support needed to make quitting efforts easier and more successful so they and their Families can experience the health benefits of not smoking.

Page last updated Thu December 1st, 2011 at 16:27