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Army Hopes To Snuff Out Tobacco Problem Among Soldiers

Posted November 16, 2001

— Soldiers are not just fighting a war in Afghanistan. They are fighting a war against tobacco.

The Womack Army Medical Center offers a smoking cessation program for those who want to kick the habit. A "Ready To Quit Tobacco" class was held Thursday in conjunction with the Great American Smokeout. The class is to prepare individuals for the 4-week program.

Specialist Calvin Harrison did not start smoking until he entered the Army, but he said now is the time to quit smoking.

"I don't want my daughter to die of cancer because I'm smoking. My wife is pregnant and I want to have a healthy child," he said.

Pulmonologist Dr. Matt McCambridge says there are many reasons why most soldiers start smoking. Education level, stress, even boredom, can play a part.

"Many of the soldiers are busy, but have a reasonable amount of downtime when they are in the field and would smoke and dip when they are not occupied," he said.

Experts say your success rate is much higher if you use a prescription or patch combined with a support system.

"It helps to know that other people are going through the same thing. They are feeling nervous, anxious and restless when coming off cigarette. This gives them a chance to talk about it," McCambridge said.

Thirty-two percent of soldiers in the Army smoke compared to 23.5 percent of the general public. Only 8 percent of smokers who quit cold turkey will be successful.


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