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NMCPHC fights tobacco addiction

Image of Woman showing man a poster about smoking cessation. Charlene Rees, a nurse educator at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s Wellness Center, educates retired Army service member Larry Cantrell during a smoking cessation class. (Photo by Jacob Sippel, NH Jacksonville.)

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Across America each November, we ‘give thanks,’ honor our veterans, and campaign heavily to help tobacco users address their addiction. At the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC), Dr. Mark Long, public health educator, has this month circled on his calendar.

Managing the Navy’s tobacco cessation efforts is “job one” for Long. Long works closely with Navy Medicine experts to help develop policy that will aid Navy and Marine Corps leaders implement a tobacco control approach that focuses on maintaining the health and readiness of sailors, Marines, and their families.

Part of the strategy involves the development of tools and resources that health care providers and health promotion staffs Navy and Marine Corps-wide can use to help educate sailors and Marines on the dangers of tobacco use, and promote tobacco-free living.

In his preface to the 2020 Report on Smoking Cessation, U.S. Public Health Service Vice Adm. Jerome Adams, U.S. surgeon general stated, “As a nation, we can and must spare no effort to reduce the completely preventable health and financial costs that tobacco smoking has on society. Everyone has a role in helping to continue to reduce the burden of tobacco use on our society.”

Long agrees and advises that with coronavirus and the flu season here, quitting now will improve your health and keep you on the job.

As noted on website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are many proven and effective ways to help with cessation. Developing an individual strategy can hold the key to quitting tobacco use. The CDC recommends that tobacco users find their reasons to quit, make a decision to quit, and create a plan.

Individuals who have never used tobacco or have successfully stopped using tobacco can also play a helping role in the strategy. “Have a support person or two to help you with quitting,” said Long. “If you are tobacco free, offer to be a buddy and assist someone who is preparing to quit.”

According to Long, tobacco users can speak with their Primary Care Provider about quitting and medications that help with urges and withdrawal. “Military medical treatment facility (MTF) pharmacies carry them and they are free. Tobacco users can also learn about the availability of counseling at their MTF,” added Long.

The Great American Smokeout (GASO) on November 19 offers an opportunity to quit. More Americans have quit on this day than any other day of the year.

Information, resources, and tools including web-based programs are available online at the NMCPHC website.

Additional resources to consider:

  • Chat and text live with a coach on YouCanQuit2
  • Call the state quit line and speak with a coach/counselor -1800-QUIT NOW
  • Consider using an app, like quitSMART, for support

The NMCPHC develops and shapes public health for the U.S. Navy and Marines Corps through health surveillance, epidemiology and analysis, disease and injury prevention, and public health consultation.

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