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November is 'Tobacco-Free Month' at Scott AFB

Posted 11/3/2010   Updated 11/4/2010 Email story   Print story


by Master Sgt. Sabrina Foster
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

11/3/2010 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- In an effort to urge personnel to give up tobacco use and take an important step toward a healthier life, Col. Michael Hornitschek, 375th Air Mobility Wing commander, signed a proclamation Oct. 27 proclaiming November as Tobacco-Free Month at Scott Air Force Base.

Before signing the proclamation, Colonel Hornitschek read the last paragraph of the proclamation which reads:

"Therefore, I, Col. Michael J. Hornitschek, proclaim November as Tobacco-Free Month at Scott AFB and call upon all active duty members, family members, community agencies, and medical facilities to participate in events and activities that encourage tobacco cessation and promote tobacco-free lifestyles for each and every member of Team Scott."

According to data compiled by the 375th MDG Dental Squadron, 18.5 percent of people assigned to Scott use tobacco products, which equates to 13.7 percent who smoke, 3.9 percent who use smokeless products and 0.9 percent who use both. The good news is that Scott has the lowest tobacco usage among Air Mobility Command bases with an approximate 1.5 percent decrease in smokers in the past year. According to Web Health Assessment results, 13 percent of tobacco users intended to quit smoking within 30 days of their assessment in 2009.

However, in 2009, 8.3 percent of tobacco users initiated first time usage. Smoking costs the Air Force $107.2 million per year; $20 million from medical care expenditures and $87 million from lost workdays according to the Center for Disease Control.

But the Health and Wellness Center is here to help.

"Quitting smoking or tobacco usage is not easy, but it can be done," said Laura Weiglein, 375th Aerospace Medicine Squadron HAWC Health and Fitness Technician and Tobacco Cessation Program coordinator. "To have the best chance of quitting successfully, you need to know what your options are and where you can go for help."

The Scott AFB HAWC offers many programs to help kick the habit. The Fresh Start Program is a face-to-face classroom program which lasts four weeks and will be offered on Mondays from noon to 1 p.m., starting Nov. 15 through Dec. 6. For those who can't make it to the classroom, there are also programs that can be accomplished at home. One option is the Illinois Tobacco Quitline, which can be reached at 877-695-QUIT, or Freedom from Smoking Online at  

Orientations for these programs are offered Mondays at 11 a.m. at the HAWC. All Scott personnel are welcome to any of these programs and the 375th Medical Group provides free medications to Tricare beneficiaries.

The Department of Defense and Tricare have other resources to help kick the habit as well. is a DoD sponsored website with a variety of resources including its new "Train2Quit" online tobacco cessation program. This site is aimed toward the active duty junior enlisted population. Tricare also unveiled its new Smoking Quitline this summer. Interested beneficiaries can call 866-459-8766 to speak with a smoking cessation counselor at any time.

"Whether you are a smoker or someone who uses smokeless tobacco, it's not too late to take that important step towards a healthier lifestyle," said Lue Daniels, 375th AMDS HAWC health promotion manager. "The support systems are in place, so make a pledge today to kick the habit and get back on the road to a healthy beginning."

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