Smoking and Tobacco

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Ceasar Colorina
  • 374th Medical Group
  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 20 million Americans have died due to smoking related issues since the first Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health was issued in January 1964.  Most of those deaths were adults who smoked, but 2.5 million were nonsmokers who died from secondhand smoke.

For all military and civilian Air Force personnel, AFI 40-102, Tobacco Use in The Air Force, depicts the adverse impact of tobacco use on health, mission readiness and unit performance.  The goal is a tobacco-free Air Force.  Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and its use degrades the state of military readiness and the health of military personnel.

In addition to bad breath, other possible oral health impacts of smoking and all tobacco products include:

 stained teeth and tongue
 dulled sense of taste and smell
 slow healing after a tooth extraction or other surgery
 difficulties in correcting cosmetic dental problems
 gum disease
 oral cancer

Quitting is the only way to decrease your risk of these and other tobacco-related health problems. The addictive quality of nicotine, which is found in cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco, can make this especially difficult.  That's why it's important to have a plan and a support network to help you stick to your plan.  Writing down your reasons for quitting, exercising, chewing gum and keeping yourself occupied can help you quit.

Talk to your dentist or doctor to learn more about plans available to help you stop using tobacco.  The Medical Group's Health Promotion Program Flight also offers tobacco prevention and cessation programs. For those interested in the tobacco cessation course, contact the 374th Aerospace Medicine Squadron health promotion flight at 225-8322.

A helpful website when quitting tobacco is