Risk Behaviors - Tobacco Use

Tuesday November 20, 2012

What is it?

Risk behaviors, specifically tobacco use in the Army, is a high-profile issue that negatively impacts force readiness and the health of all members of the Army family - Soldiers, family members and civilians. Tobacco use is a major cause of cancer of the lung, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, bladder and cervix and may lead to heart disease and diseases of the blood vessels, stroke, a reduction in lung capacity, stamina, fine motor coordination, slower healing of wounds and many other long-term medical conditions. According to the American Cancer Society, more than half of the 45 million adult Americans who currently smoke have attempted to quit for at least one day during the past year.

What has the Army done?

Since tobacco use is both a readiness and a health issue, the Army offers many tobacco cessation programs and initiatives to live a tobacco free life, and encourages all Soldiers, family members and civilians who currently use tobacco to "Get Motivated to Quit Tobacco" in 2012 by creating a personal quit plan. The plan is an online-tool to help Soldiers and members of Army family decide on the best method they should use to stop tobacco use, determine how much they spend on tobacco products annually, identify tobacco use triggers and available programs to get the support they need to quit tobacco. The Army also supported participation in the American Cancer Society 37th Great American Smokeout on November 15, 2012, at military and civilian locations across the U.S.

Why is this important to the Army?

The strength of the Army depends on the health and readiness of its Soldiers and civilians. According to studies by the United States Army Public Health Command, personnel who smoke are more prone to injury and illness, which take longer to heal and lead to an overall decrease in Army readiness.

What continued effort does the Army have planned for the future?

The Army Surgeon General challenged medical commanders at Army installations to create tobacco-free environments at military treatment facilities worldwide by January 1, 2013. Army tobacco cession programs will continually evolve to educate Soldiers, family members and civilians about programs for living tobacco-free and provide the tools and resources to make positive decisions for a healthier smoke-free life.

Resources:

Department of Defense Quit Tobacco Website

U.S. Army Public Health Command

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Senior Leaders are Saying

"Sequestration is an unknown. We know that it will have a significant impact but how that impact will affect us is very, very difficult to foretell. Our biggest priority is to do this in a way that first of all we don't undermine the critical security needs of this country."

- Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal, during a visit to Redstone Arsenal, Ala., Nov. 14.

Army under secretary lauds Redstone's synergy

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"Throughout November, the Army observes Warrior Care Month, to reaffirm a commitment to quality health care, education and careers for our nation's wounded, ill and injured service members. The theme for this year is 'Success through Transition -- Education, Employment, and Entrepreneurship.' As our Soldiers transition to new civilian careers, our Army Team must work together for success."

- Michael Robinson Transition Coordinator with the Fort Carson Warrior Transition Units

Operation War Fighter internships assist transitioning Soldiers with civilian careers

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