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NHCH Helps You Kick the Habit during 44th Annual Great American Smokeout

Tobacco use can hinder military readiness for members expected to be fit to deploy at a moment’s notice. In addition to the obvious heart disease and cancer, negative health effects from tobacco use span from reduced physical performance capabilities, lower visual acuity, and decreased night vision, to respiratory illness such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In effort to decrease health conditions due to tobacco use and increase awareness on the benefits of cessation, the American Cancer Society dedicated Nov. 21 the Great American Smokeout, encouraging smokers to make a plan to quit smoking or quit smoking for 24 hours on the day of the event.

On Nov. 21, 2019, Naval Health Clinic Hawaii (NHCH) participated in the Great American Smokeout as a means of promoting tobacco-free living for our military and their families. “This is an annual tobacco awareness and intervention event by the American Cancer on the third Thursday of November to encourage those who smoke cigarettes to think about quitting or try to quit, even for just a day, as a start of becoming tobacco free or nicotine free,” explained Eleanor Bru, Health Promotions Nurse at Naval Health Clinic Hawaii. “With the evolution and emerging of some tobacco and nicotine products, including electronic cigarettes (ENDS), these are now also addressed and included.”

This year, the NHCH Health Promotions team worked with the command tobacco cessation representatives to set up information tables at each NHCH clinic and fitness centers. Resources and handouts focused on topics such as getting started, revamping the routine, managing moods when quitting, and ways to manage those cravings and urges through healthy eating and snacking, hydration, and physical activity. The tables were set up the entire month of November during Tobacco Awareness Month.

NHCH isn’t alone in helping tobacco and nicotine users quit. On Oahu, multiple organizations and military branches have teamed up to promote tobacco-free living and the Great American Smokeout through setting up Turkey Trot runs, encouraging users to take the pledge to quit smoking for the day, and guiding users through what can be a mentally and physically challenging process.

“We’ve partnered with and collaborated with organizations such as the Semper Fit Health Promotion team at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Defense Commissary Agency, Naval Exchange, Morale Welfare and Recreation Fitness Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) and Wahiawa, and other commands around the island, to put together various activities throughout the month of November leading up to the Great American Smokeout Day on the 21st,” said Bru.

Tobacco Awareness Month and the Great American Smokeout are opportunities to educate staff and patients on the harmful health effects of tobacco use and how it could affect their military career.

While tobacco cessation is a conscious choice many take during the month of November to work towards a tobacco-free life, the harmful effects of tobacco use and the benefits of quitting are topics to be discussed year round. The Health Promotions Team, located on the second deck of the JBPHH fitness center is always available to help military members, their dependents, and civilian employees quit using tobacco and kick the habit once and for all.

Date Taken: 12.03.2019
Date Posted: 12.03.2019 13:45
Story ID: 354125
Location: HI, US

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