Should DoD Ban Tobacco?

7/6/2009 –


A new Institute of Medicine report (PDF) recommends that DoD gradually reduce (and eventually eliminate) the use of tobacco products to restore and maintain the optimal health and readiness of our nation’s service members.

From the report: 

·         One in five Americans uses tobacco, but more than 30 percent of active-duty military personnel and about 22 percent of veterans use tobacco.

 ·         Of greater concern, the rate of tobacco use in the military has increased since 1998, threatening to reverse the steady decline of the last several decades.
·         Smoking rates among military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan may be 50 percent higher than rates among nondeployed military personnel.
·         DoD spends more than $1.6 billion per year on tobacco-related medical care, increased hospitalizations, and lost days of work.
This begs the question:
Should the DoD ban the use of tobacco?

·         Can DoD ban tobacco?
·         Would a smoking ban lead to increased anxiety/stress among deployed troops?
·         What should be done to combat tobacco use?
·         How do outreach programs like Quit Tobacco, Make Everyone Proud fit in? 
Please keep in mind that this forum is available to debate DoD health policy and operational issues. Your comments will be passed along to MHS senior leaders for their consideration.

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