VILSECK, Germany -- U.S. Army Medical Department Activity Bavaria (BMEDDAC) clinic staffs in Ansbach, Grafenwoehr, Hohenfels, Stuttgart and Vilseck reached out to members of their respective communities 17 November at post exchanges, MWR venues and dining facilities in order to inform and encourage both tobacco smokers and dippers to quit for 24 hours. This year clinic representatives handed out special cards, "Time to Quit Tobacco?" with contact info for all clinics to make it easy for anyone considering quitting tobacco, or anyone who knows and wants to encourage a smoker or dipper to quit.

Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across America and on U.S. military posts around the world, take part in the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout event. By quitting -- even for 1 day -- smokers take an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk.

"The Great American Smokeout is a great opportunity for anyone thinking about quitting tobacco to prove to themselves that it is possible. If you can go tobacco free for 24 hours, you can quit for the long-term, and BMEDDAC clinics are here to help you do it. Quitting today is often the first day of going tobacco free for good of our Soldiers and military community members." said Meagan Elam, BMEDDAC Community Health Program Manager. "For many others it's a chance to learn about our cessation resources, and begin planning a New Year's resolution to beat the tobacco habit."

According to the most recent Defense Advisory Committee on Tobacco study, tobacco use, which includes both smokers and dippers who use chewing tobacco, costs the DoD an estimated $1.6 billion a year in medical expenses and lost work time. Even worse, based on statistics that half of smokers will die from a related complication, officials estimated that about 175,000 current active-duty smokers will experience a future fatal smoking related complication.

Fortunately, the military's attitude towards tobacco seems to be changing for the better. Tobacco sales on military bases have steadily declined since military officials began introducing programs to reduce smoking in the ranks, to include reducing the discounts on tobacco products on post.

"Tobacco addiction is a big challenge and it often takes multiple attempts to achieve lasting cessation," stated Elam.

According to a 2014 Health Related Behaviors Survey, respondents revealed that the most likely methods for successful tobacco cessation are the cold-turkey approach (55-58 percent), gradual decrease in tobacco use (33-59 percent), and the use of prescription medication (22-31 percent).

"Since tobacco use is both a readiness and a health issue, our BMEDDAC clinics provide effective cessation programs that focus on helping Soldiers kick the tobacco habit, and there are plenty of positive, proven suggestions and alternatives available from our local clinic health care providers to anyone considering quitting." said Elam. "Tobacco cessation resources and programs are open to all service members, family members and U.S. DoD Civilian ID cardholders. If you are uncertain about how and where to begin, your local clinic health care provider is the best place to start."

For more information on smoking and how to quit, visit the American Cancer Society Web site at www.cancer.org. or visit sites online to text and chat with someone about taking the steps to free yourself from tobacco: Freedom to Quit at www.freedomquitline.org and/or U Can Quit 2 at www.ucanquit2.org

To learn more about TRICARE-covered tobacco cessation services at www.tricare.mil/tobaccocessation

To learn more about the people and facilities of the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity Bavaria (BMEDDAC) and the clinics they support in Ansbach, Grafenwoehr, Hohenfels, Stuttgart and Vilseck visit the BMEDDAC website at www.rhce.amedd.army.mil/bavaria