DOD promotes health, tobacco cessation

Base Info

DOD promotes health, tobacco cessation

by: Lance Cpl. Brianna Turner | .
Okinawa Marine Staff | .
published: November 10, 2012

CAMP HANSEN — Marine Corps Community Services is scheduled to support the American Cancer Society’s 37th Great American Smokeout at Camp Hansen Nov. 15.

The American Cancer Society encourages smokers to use the day to take a break and make a plan to quit tobacco use.

By quitting the use of tobacco, even for one day, smokers are taking an important step towards a healthier lifestyle and reducing the risk of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

“We promote this event every year on Camp Hansen,” said Gregory N. Hammond, a wellness director with MCCS. “We choose Hansen because it has the highest population of single Marines, so we can reach more people in our target audience.”

Prior to Nov. 15, MCCS is placing flyers around the camp to encourage Marines and sailors to participate in the smokeout, according to Hammond.

“The goal is to get smokers to quit for one day,” said Kimberly D. Beard, the health promotion program manager for MCCS. “We hope that quitting for one day will make them think about quitting for good.”

On the day of the smokeout, MCCS will go to highly populated areas and hand out pamphlets with information on the negative effects of tobacco use, according to Hammond.

“We also bring displays which show a mouth after years of smoking or using smokeless tobacco, what tar looks like inside your body and arteries that are hardened due to tobacco use,” said Hammond.

Smoking is the largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. While this is a well-known and publicized fact, 45 million Americans still smoke.

The smokeout is promoted not just by the Marine Corps, but by the entire Department of Defense in an attempt to ensure the best health and fitness for all U.S. service members.

“Tobacco is the biggest preventable health issue in the U.S. military,” said Beard. “We need our service members as healthy and as fit as possible, so it is important to make any effort we can to help them quit.”

The DOD has supported the Great American Smokeout from the beginning, according to Beard. This is the 37th event and the DOD will continue providing support in hopes of changing lives.

“There may not be a huge turnout every year, but if we can get a few people to participate and those people tell their friends, the numbers will go up,” said Beard. “If we get just one person to quit from this single day, that is one life we may have saved and makes the whole program a success.”