Health & Safety

August 22, 2014

Official says: Tobacco use harms military readiness

Claudette Roulo
DOD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Because tobacco use is harmful to military readiness, the Defense Department has an added responsibility to curb its use, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs said today, noting that service members are more likely to use tobacco products than civilians.

Tobacco use can lead to excess oral cavity disease and morbidity, Dr. Jonathan Woodson said.

“It affects dental readiness, which is very important in making sure that we have a healthy force ready to deploy for the nation’s defense,” he explained.

“We know that tobacco use figures prominently in development of cancers, but also there are many other health related consequences — [detcreased] lung function, heart function, excess heart attacks and strokes,” Woodson said. “And so it’s something that we really do need to concentrate on as a public health issue for the services.”

In the coming decades, 171,000 of the personnel currently serving are likely to die prematurely due to tobacco use, he added.

“We have an extra responsibility to address this problem,” Woodson said. “The way I look at it is, just as we would leave nobody behind in the combat zone [and] we expend every effort to save the life of a battle buddy that’s on our right or on our left, we need to do the same with tobacco use.”

The Military Health System is partnered with tobacco cessation programs Action to Quit and U Can Quit 2 and has developed Operation Live Well, all in an effort to provide encouragement and resources to tobacco users looking to quit, he said.

The campaigns are more than just buzzwords, Woodson said.

“It’s about a concentrated effort to support the health of the men and women who serve — both immediately and long-term — by reducing the use of tobacco products,” he said.

“This effort isn’t about denying the rights of service members,” Woodson stressed, rather “it is about encouraging and creating environments to make healthy choices.”

Yet, “it’s also about protecting the nonsmoker,” he added. “We know the issues that occur in terms of health-related effects from ambient smoke for nonsmokers and so we need to look at the issue of smoking in housing and smoking on installations, again, to protect the health of the entire force.”

Tobacco use is pernicious, Woodson said. “Individuals start and then they get addicted to it and then it becomes a lifelong habit,” with terrible health consequences, he said.

“You know, at one point in our history when we didn’t know so much about tobacco and its health effects, we actually supplied cigarettes in our rations,” Woodson said. But, he noted, as science demonstrated the harmful effects of tobacco use, the department reformed its policies to better serve the health of service members.

And concern for the health of the entire force is at the heart of the Military Health System’s efforts, Woodson said.

“We need to address all potentially health-related habits that adversely affect the health of our servicemen and women,” he said. “…We want to encourage the development of more smoke-free installations, particularly where children learn, work and play — that’s very important for their health — but also we want to encourage … healthy behaviors.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan

March Key Spouse Program kicks off initial training

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan Valerie Fioretta, key spouse facilitator and director of the Airman and Family Readiness Center, March Air Reserve Base, explains an exercise to participants during an init...
 
 

‘Tis the season for holiday health

The holidays are a great opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends, celebrate life, to be grateful, and reflect on what’s important. They are also a time to appreciate the gift of health. Here are some holiday tips to support your efforts for health and safety this season. Wash your hands often. Keeping hands...
 
 

California DMV to unveil Veteran driver license, ID card

Late next year, California’s nearly two million Veterans will have the chance to get a special Veteran marking on their California driver license or ID card. The word “VETERAN” on their card will indicate they have served in the United States Armed Forces. The Veteran designation will cost an additional $5. To get the new...
 

 

Safety Tips for this holiday season

It’s that time of year once again, and the March ARB Fire Prevention wants to ensure your safety during the holiday season. It is our pleasure to share the following safety tips to help you enjoy the holiday season. Only flame-proof decorations are authorized for use on March ARB. Special decorations or temporary arrangements for...
 
 

CAL FIRE warns of home heating dangers during winter storms

As a major winter storm prepares to hit California, CAL FIRE is reminding residents to take steps to heat their homes safely. While the cooler weather and rain is a welcomed event during a time of severe drought in California, it also means that many will need to turn on home heating sources to keep...
 
 

Gen. Hyten: Future of AF is air, space, cyberspace integration

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The commander of Air Force Space Command talked about the fundamental relationship between space operations and everyday life – not only for the military, but for the American people – during a breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club, Dec. 5. Gen. John E. Hyten, the AFSPC commander, explained the complexities of global...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin