The Great American Spit Out, Feb. 22, is part of the national “Through with Chew Week.” The day is recognized as a means of raising awareness about the dangers associated with smokeless tobacco and to encourage users to quit smokeless tobacco products.
Many military members think smokeless tobacco is a safer alternative to cigarettes. Even though this form of tobacco is not smoked, the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco are equally serious. Types of smokeless tobacco include chewing tobacco, spit or spitting tobacco, dip, chew, snus and snuff. Service members have a much higher rate of usage than the national average. Less than four percent of adults in the U.S. are smokeless tobacco users compared to 12 percent of Army Soldiers.
The nicotine in smokeless tobacco is absorbed through the lining of the mouth. Just like cigarettes, it is the nicotine in these products that causes the addiction.
Nicotine absorption in smokeless tobacco products is three to four times more than that of smoked tobacco products and its slow absorption allows it to stay longer in the bloodstream. All forms of smokeless tobacco are addictive and contain chemicals known to cause cancer and many other health problems. All forms of tobacco effect readiness.
In order to convey a positive health message, Womack Army Medical Center became a Tobacco-Free Campus for military personnel in 2013. In January 2014, WAMC became a TFC for patients, visitors and civilian employees not covered under the local union.
This past November, Col. Kyle A. Reed, the Fort Bragg garrison commander, signed Installation Policy Letter #32, Fort Bragg Tobacco Policy, in order to protect the health, safety and comfort of our military personnel, veterans, Family members and civilians. The use of all forms of tobacco, including smokeless tobacco, is relegated to outside in specifically designated areas. Commanders at all levels will implement policies and programs to encourage tobacco-free living and demonstrate positive efforts to deglamorize the use of all forms of tobacco.
In an effort to promote healthier lifestyles, Womack’s Primary Care Clinics offer highly successful tobacco cessation programs.
For more information, contact Fort Bragg primary care clinics, call Army Public Health Nursing at 907-WELL (9355) or web search WAMC Tobacco Free Living. Quitting smoking or chewing tobacco can be a long and tough process, but utilizing available resources have proven to be successful.