USA — Troops Urged to Quit Smokeless Tobacco

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — When the Defense Depart­ment weighs in on kiss­ing and spit­ting, it’s with good rea­son — two good rea­sons, in fact: love and health.
Using smoke­less tobac­co can pose a stinky, unsa­vory obsta­cle to shar­ing a kiss with a loved one, par­ent, child or sweet­heart. It also may cause a slew of seri­ous health prob­lems.

That’s why TRICARE wants mil­i­tary per­son­nel to par­tic­i­pate in the Great Amer­i­can Spit Out on Feb. 24, and kiss the spit good­bye for a day.

About 19 per­cent of 18- to 24-year-old men in the armed forces use smoke­less tobac­co — that’s more than dou­ble the nation­al rate. The DOD Quit Tobac­co — Make Every­one Proud cam­paign at is focus­ing on help­ing those who spit and chew tobac­co to devel­op a per­son­al­ized ces­sa­tion plan.

“Many of our ser­vice­men start­ed using smoke­less tobac­co at a young age due to peer pres­sure and became addict­ed before real­iz­ing the neg­a­tive effects it could have on their per­son­al rela­tion­ships and health,” said Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Aileen Buck­ler, a U.S. Pub­lic Health Ser­vice offi­cer and chair­man of the DOD Alco­hol and Tobac­co Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee.

Through­out the month of Feb­ru­ary the DOD web­site will host a spe­cial Great Amer­i­can Spit Out page,, where ser­vice mem­bers can pub­licly post their pledge to quit.

Also on the web­site, Navy Capt. (Dr.) Lar­ry Williams, pub­lic health emer­gency offi­cer, will answer ques­tions about smoke­less tobac­co. Instal­la­tions plan­ning ces­sa­tion events will find ideas, an event reg­is­tra­tion page, pledge cards, and down­load­able pro­mo­tion­al mate­ri­als.

Ser­vice mem­bers and their friends, fam­i­lies and oth­er sup­port­ers are invit­ed to join the event on Face­book at www.facebook/ Those plan­ning to quit can get a “Kiss me, I’m Tobac­co Free” badge to post on their Face­book page.

The web­site will show­case graph­ic pho­tos of the dev­as­tat­ing effects of surgery for oral can­cer, which has been linked to smoke­less tobac­co use. Those who use smoke­less tobac­co are marked by bulging cheeks, gunk stuck in teeth, per­ma­nent­ly dis­col­ored teeth, and spit­ting cups — all uni­ver­sal­ly unap­peal­ing. Vis­i­tors will also find hard-hit­ting facts that dis­pel the myth that smoke­less tobac­co is a safe alter­na­tive to smok­ing. For exam­ple, almost half of those who con­tract oral can­cer die with­in five years, and one Amer­i­can dies from oral can­cer every hour.

“Don’t let spit­ting and chew­ing get in the way of your per­son­al rela­tion­ships,” Buck­ler urged. “Take this oppor­tu­ni­ty to do some­thing for your­self and those you love. Kiss smoke­less tobac­co good­bye and expe­ri­ence the ben­e­fits to your social life and health.”

Enrolling in the website’s com­pre­hen­sive sup­port sys­tem, Train2Quit, can be the first step in the jour­ney to say­ing good­bye to smoke­less tobac­co. The sys­tem fea­tures inter­ac­tive com­po­nents such as quit tools, self-assess­ment ques­tion­naires, and quizzes.

Ser­vice mem­bers can cre­ate a cus­tomized quit plan with a cal­en­dar to track progress and learn how to beat crav­ings, over­come weight gain and cope with nico­tine with­draw­al. The site also has per­son­al quit coach­es, avail­able 24/7, to get answers to ques­tions about becom­ing tobac­co free.

From a Tri­care News Release

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