Quit smoking to improve your health

By Michelle ThumJune 3, 2024

Vaping, e-cigs: The danger is real
A Team Offutt Airman vapes in an authorized smoking area during a break Nov. 7. As of Oct. 29, 2019, over 1,800 lung injury cases and 37 deaths have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the only commonality among all cases is the patient’s use of e-cigarette or vaping products. Offutt Airmen looking for support quitting can schedule an appointment with a behavioral health consultant or primary care manager by calling 402-232-2273. To schedule a unit briefing on the dangers of vaping and options for quitting, call 402-294-5977. Outside assistance, including text-message support, is available by visiting www.smokefree.gov, www.thetruth.com or www.ycq2.org. (Photo Credit: Tech. Sgt. William OBrien) VIEW ORIGINAL

LANDSTUHL, Germany – It’s never too late to quit smoking, a Public Health Command Europe soldier touched her last vape a year ago and does not look back at her time spent smoking.

According to the Institute of Medicine, U.S. military service members have consistently smoked more than the general population. Smoking affects military readiness by impairing physical performance and endurance, reducing vigilance and cognitive function, increasing the risk of motor vehicle crashes and other unintentional injuries, as well as resulting in work absenteeism.

“I started smoking when I was 18 years old because my friend had a vape and I was curious about it,” said Animal Care Specialist Breanna Bryant. “It was quickly addicting, and the variety of flavor makes it easy for everyone to find something that they like.”

Bryant smoked for six years and quit a year ago because she wanted to improve her health and reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses.

“I had hip surgery and was already a few days without nicotine,” said Bryant. “Plus, my physical therapist recommended to quit because it constricts the blood vessels which can slow down the healing process.”

Since Bryant quit vaping, she feels better overall.

“I can breathe better and cough a lot less,” said Bryant.

Quitting smoking is beneficial to your health at any age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The health effects of tobacco on users include cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cancer, as well as short-term adverse effects, such as acute respiratory illnesses, impaired wound healing, periodontal disease, and peptic ulcer disease.”, said European Regional Army Public Health Nursing Senior Nurse Executive Lt. Col. Simeon Smith.

After you smoke your last cigarette, your body will begin a series of positive changes that will continue for years but resisting the urge to quit smoking can be challenging.

Public Health Command Europe officials recommend the following:

  • Distract yourself.
  • Build a support system.
  • Watch out for temptations.
  • Find safe substitutes for cigarettes.

For more information tips for quitting, check out https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/tips-for-quitting/index.html#distract-yourself