The Doctor Is In: Time to Quit

Story by Army Brig. Gen. W. Bryan Gamble, TRICARE Management Activity Deputy Director

As a physician for more than 30 years, I’ve seen first-hand the damage smoking does to otherwise healthy people. Many people find quitting smoking one of the hardest challenges they ever face. Smoking contributed to the early deaths of both my parents, and I feel very passionately about helping members of the Armed Forces and their families go smoke free. TRICARE offers help if you’re looking to quit, which can make the difference when you try to go tobacco free.

Tobacco use has a devastating effect on Americans’ health. A 2011 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 443,000 Americans die prematurely each year from using tobacco. A staggering 8.6 million Americans live with a serious illness because of smoking, making it the single most preventable cause of disease, disability and death.

Quitting tobacco is a difficult journey but you don’t have to do it alone. Joining a tobacco cessation program doubles your chance of quitting successfully.  TRICARE’s Quit Tobacco program has an interactive website at www.UCanQuit2.org where you can find tips for quitting and tools to create your own quit plan. Coaches are available 24-7 via live chat to support quit plans and guide you to the help you need. Toll-free help line telephone numbers are also available for each TRICARE region in the U.S.:

  • North Region: 866-459-8766
  • South Region: 877-414-9949
  • West Region: 866-244-6870

In addition to negative effects on your health, tobacco use impacts readiness and personal performance. Smokers are more likely to fail physical training exams, experience frequent injuries and suffer from impaired vision and respiratory function. Using smokeless tobacco (i.e., dipping) has the same health risks as smoking tobacco.  It also increases the risk for oral cancers in long-term users and impacts dental readiness in active duty service members.

People use tobacco for many reasons, but there are many more reasons to quit. You experience the health benefits of quitting right away – your blood pressure and pulse rate begin to return to normal after just 20 minutes.  Heart disease risk is substantially reduced within 1 to 2 years of quitting. Within weeks, your blood circulation and lung function improve, making breathing easier. Continuing to be tobacco free lowers the risk of getting lung cancer by half, and decreases the risk of developing other cancers connected to tobacco use.

The health risk to others from your secondhand smoke is another reason to stop smoking, as it can be just as damaging as firsthand smoke. Children are especially vulnerable to toxins from secondhand smoke, which cause diseases like bronchitis, pneumonia and ear infections. Over time, it can cause lung and throat cancers as well as heart disease in those around you.  There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke – any contact is damaging.

In closing, take steps today to quit tobacco use and take advantage of the education, tools, and help your TRICARE benefit provides to stop smoking. The health and financial benefits are immediate. You improve your own and your loved ones health, save money, set a good example, and increase your readiness. Your loved ones will be grateful for a lifetime. Visit www.UCanQuit2.org for more information and support today.

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  • Anonymous

    I appreciated the comment of Brigadier General Bryan. What he said made all the sense in the world to me. I just had one comment. So little is ever talked about with regard to the seven forces within human beings that get hooked on cigarettes. These forces make it doubly difficult for any smoker to reign them all in so they can stop. A special resource that we all already have can be very helpful to doing that job. There is a new stop smoking package that I wanted to recommend to any smoker who has tried stop smoking programs over the years and failed with every one. Yes, sometimes such a smoker can stop for a while, but invariably he or she returns to a pack of cigarettes and starts smoking again. This new stop smoking packge is accessible over the internet. Those who feel hopeless from all the futile efforts they’ve made to stop smoking, and yet still bear a fire of desire to stop, should look into this new program. It’s called THE WIZARD’S OUTRAGEOUS SCHEME FOR STOPPING SMOKING, and it’s like no other program that’s out there.
    Best,
    Humbler Acts
    Creator of THE WIZARD’S OUTRAGEOUS SCHEME FOR STOPPING SMOKING

  • John Doe

    Why is tyranny have a foothold of my Country by those who fought and die adjust just that?

  • http://www.facebook.com/rose.smith.3701779 Rose Smith

    My daughter stopped smoking after trying twice and failing, finally succeeding with ecigs. She said electronic cigarettes relieved her stress while getting off tobacco. http://www.electroniccigarettereviewguru.com/best-ecig-brands.html has reviews of the top 20 brands.

    According to the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association 31% of the 2.5 million smokers who’ve tried ecigarettes have quit smoking within 6 months. While it may not work for everyone, I’ll bet those 31% who quit are thankful they did.

    Rose Smith,ECRG
    Never quit quitting!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rose.smith.3701779 Rose Smith

    My daughter stopped smoking after trying twice and failing, finally succeeding with ecigs. She said electronic cigarettes relieved her stress while getting off tobacco. http://www.electroniccigarettereviewguru.com/best-ecig-brands.html has reviews of the top 20 brands.

    According to the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association 31% of the 2.5 million smokers who’ve tried ecigarettes have quit smoking within 6 months. While it may not work for everyone, I’ll bet those 31% who quit are thankful they did.

    Rose Smith,ECRG
    Never quit quitting!

  • http://www.optimacigs.com/how-it-works/ Henry Wyatt

    Totally agree, quitting smoking is surely one of the hardest challenges smokers ever face, my uncle is suffering from lung cancer and still he is not able to give up smoking.

  • http://internationalvaporgroup.com/why-e-cigs.html Austin Jackson

    Tobacco is the biggest killer in this world and we all know that, this thing can do some serious damages to our health, leading us to a miserable life, it is better to get rid of this habit and for that you can switch to electronic cigarette, i am sure you won’t be disappointed.