Lighting Up Slows Military Down

The nearly one-third of active duty service members who smoke will not have to wait as long as commonly thought to experience adverse health effects, U.S. Army Public Health Command (USAPHC ) studies demonstrate.

In addition to long-term consequences such as lung cancer and emphysema, smoking decreases a soldier’s physical performance while increasing his or her likelihood of injury.

Other deleterious effects of tobacco use uncovered in the studies include decreased physical endurance, impaired night vision and mental sharpness, and increased susceptibility to heat and cold.

Smoking causes 443,000 deaths among civilian and military populations in the U.S. and a yearly cost to the Pentagon of $846 million in medical expenses and lost productivity, according to President Barack Obama’s National Prevention Strategy report and a recent Army Times article, respectively.

USAPHC studies also demonstrate marked health benefits for those who quit smoking, such as decreased heart attack risk in as few as 24 hours after last tobacco use. For those who wish to kick the habit, military and civilian medical facilities across the U.S. offer tobacco cessation classes and counseling.


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