As outlined in AFI 40-102, Tobacco Use in the Air Force, the goal is to be a tobacco-free Air Force. According to the AFI, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and degrades the state of military readiness and the health of military service members.
“The health problems that tobacco use can cause are ultimately costing the military money,” said Laura Weart, 99th Aerospace Medical Squadron Health and Wellness Center Health Promotion Flight chief. “People who smoke and get sick are likely to heal a lot slower than non-tobacco users who are also sick. This means there is an increase in doctor visits and the health expenses can add up over time.”
According to the American Lung Association, more than 392,000 people die from tobacco-caused disease and another 50,000 people die due to exposure to second hand smoke. Chronic bronchitis, emphysema, coronary heart disease, stroke and multiple types of cancers can result from tobacco products.
“Cigarettes aren’t the only form of tobacco to worry about. Smokeless tobacco such as snuff causes significant health risks and is not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes,” Weart said.
According to the National Cancer Institute, the amount of nicotine absorbed from smokeless tobacco is three to four times the amount delivered by a cigarette.
Although nicotine addiction is serious and it may take some people multiple attempts to quit before they are actually tobacco free, there are options available to help people who want to quit.
“Most people that come to the tobacco cessation classes quit smoking for various reasons, such as health concerns, appearance concerns, family pressure, work place restrictions, social restrictions and the expenses that come along with smoking,” Weart said. “The HAWC is here to help Airmen and their families with their goals of quitting,” she added.
People trying to quit smoking can call the smokers hotline at 1-877-695-7848 between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. People can receive a free telephone consultation with a certified registered nurse or respiratory therapist. Let the counselor know you are from Nellis AFB.
Tobacco cessation classes also are available every Thursday starting at 4 p.m. at the HAWC.
For more information or if you have any questions about tobacco cessation, call the HAWC at (702) 653-3375.