As one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the U.S., the CDC reports more 16 million Americans have at least one disease caused by smoking. If youths were prevented from starting to use nicotine products such as vapes and smokeless tobacco, CDC officials say about $170 billion in direct medical costs could be saved yearly. In addition to medical costs, two Soldiers currently in the cessation program said they already see the benefits of quitting the use of nicotine/tobacco products. Staff Sargent David Hyde, Warrior Transition Unit, said he got started using nicotine products at the early age because he was influenced through his parents and sibling's usage of smokeless tobacco. As a 31-year former user of tobacco related products, Hyde said he was prompted to seek assistance because he did not want his own children to begin using nicotine products. "I didn't want to repeat the same mistakes my parents made with me," Hyde said. "I just wanted to break the chain and stop with me." The program gave Hyde the right support and guidance he needs in order to quit he said. "I quit at least a half-dozen times on my own and failed, and just went back to it," Hyde explained. "It's okay to fail as long as you keep trying." Even though it may be hard to quit, Hyde said it is important to remember what tobacco is doing to your body, children, family, friends and career. "Just make that conscience decision to quit," Hyde said. "There is nothing to be afraid of." Specialist Oderi Duke, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, used to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day for the past three years and sought help through the nicotine cessation program. Duke spent more than $2,000 a year supporting his nicotine addiction. He said his commander recommended for him to enroll in the program, but Duke wanted to go it alone. "I am pretty sure I can do it by myself," Duke said to his commander. "Which I did before, but I fell off. But after coming to the program, [it] made me understand that it's much easier when you have a purpose and direction and understand the reason why you are quitting … it's a lot easier when you are in the program." Duke said the organization of the program was beneficial for him to quit. Participants have to journal why they want to quit, be it family, career, children, when writing down his reasons, Duke was motivated to quit using nicotine products. "They are actually going to give you a plan. So you are going to set up a date where you actually quit," Duke said. "They are not forcing you to quit, they slowly wean you off of it [nicotine]. If you need it [additional help], they give you medications." Duke said he would tell others who were seeking solutions to kick the habit to get help and not be embarrassed. "If you want to quit, it shouldn't matter," Duke advised. "Just go get help." For those interested in setting a new healthy-habit goal, the Cessation Program has three locations available: Tuttle Army Health Clinic on Thursdays from 10-11 a.m. at Hunter Army Airfield; Richmond Hill Medical Home from Thursdays from 10-11 a.m.; and here at Winn ACH on Tuesdays from 10-11 a.m. or Wednesdays from 3-4 p.m. To get into the program patients can visit their primary care provider or call the MEDDAC appointment line to schedule to be seen at one of the aforementioned locations. The process for getting into the program is as easy as calling 912-435-6633. The program is four-weeks long and follow-up is available for continued support. To see the full video interview, visit the Winn ACH Facebook page at the link below. Today is the day to quit. Look for an update on this exciting project in 2020!