FORT LEE, Va. (March 28, 2013) -- Imagine a world without tobacco use.

It's a healthier, cleaner place that's free of tobacco-related illnesses and deaths, and Fort Lee will get a glimpse of that world very soon.

The Kenner Army Health Clinic and Bull Dental facility campuses and the areas between will go tobacco-free beginning April 1. The initiative is part of Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho's push to change Army medicine to a system for health that focuses on prevention and wellness promotion for optimizing individual health and readiness.

"The Army sees tobacco use as an impairment to readiness," said Clinic Commander, Col. Thomas S. Bundt. "Tobacco use is one of the single greatest causes of preventable deaths in America today and is responsible for more than 440,000 deaths each year. Kenner is ready to embrace this movement."

Bundt said it's not about expelling smokers or smoke-less tobacco users from the clinic's vicinity.

"This is about healthy lifestyles and promoting health -- the number one priority of every military treatment facility," he said. "We support those who want to quit."

The tobacco-free campus encompasses the entire footprint of Kenner Army Health Clinic, Bull Dental Clinic and the areas between, which include parts of B Avenue, C Avenue, 24th St. and Mahone Avenue. Also included in the tobacco-free zone are both Troop Medical Clinics and the medical company located across from the main Kenner campus. TMC No.1 is located on B Avenue, and Mosier Consolidated Troop Medical Clinic is located on Central Avenue, Ordnance Campus.

Signs will be prominently displayed to ensure staff, visitors and patients at all facilities are aware of the campus boundaries.

Tobacco use areas will be located behind buildings 8151 and 8200 near the clinic.

Kenner's Preventive Medicine Clinic offers Tobacco Use Cessation classes for active duty military members, retirees, their spouses and Department of Defense Civilian employees, though some restrictions apply for prescription therapy.

Quitting is not easy but the payoff is immediate. If you have considered quitting, you've already taken an important first step. Understand and accept that the nicotine found in tobacco products is powerfully addictive. Knowing and believing that you can quit can be just as powerful. Here are some other steps in the process:

• Make the decision to quit.

• Identify resources to help you quit.

• Make a plan to quit.

• Identify and include people who will support you.

• Set a quit date.

• Stay a quitter.

There are a number of aids to help you stay tobacco-free, but there is no one product that works best. The success of the aid depends on what you and your health care provider decides is best. Understand that dealing with withdrawal, cravings and relapses is a part of the process. There are so many helpful guides you can use, but remember your commitment and willpower is paramount.

There is no magic pill and there is no easy way to quit and stay tobacco-free.

Remember, the ultimate goal is no tobacco use, not less tobacco use. The personal health benefits of quitting are enormous to every smoker, dipper, chewer and their families.

For more information or to enroll in classes, call (804) 734-9304 or email alvina.s.bey.civ@mail.mil. The next class begins April 3 at 11 a.m.

Page last updated Thu March 28th, 2013 at 00:00