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Quit smoking and gain wellness

HPRC Fitness Arena: Mind Body, Total Force Fitness
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Smoking is one of the most difficult habits to quit. Learn how using mind tactics can help you kick the habit.

Some think of quitting smoking as a loss, rather than considering all they have to gain. There are nearly 45 million smokers in the U.S. And even though 70% say they’d like to quit, only 5% are able to stop on their own. Smokers have long been warned about the negative impact of tobacco on the body, including risk of cancer, lung disease, and emphysema. The negative statistics might inspire you to make a change, but have you also considered what you can gain? Maybe you’re driven to avoid negative outcomes, but you also might be motivated by positive incentives. So, what can you gain by quitting smoking?

  • Improved well-being. Quitting smoking is associated with fewer bouts of depression and anxiety as well as improved mood and quality of life. While you might not see these benefits immediately—especially during efforts to quit smoking—“losing tobacco” means you have a lot to gain in the way of well-being.
  • Less medication. If you’re currently on medications, you might be able to reduce your dosages since nicotine increases the metabolism of certain drugs. If you’re suffering from side effects or paying for costly medicines, quitting smoking also might reduce how much you need.
  • More vitality. Perhaps you’re struggling to keep up on the playground with your kids or at the gym. Maybe you’re performing at suboptimal levels during your Physical Fitness (PFT) and Physical Readiness (PRT) tests, which in turn interferes with your ability to get promoted. Remember: You just don’t reduce the risk of disease or death when you quit smoking. Instead of focusing on adding more years to your life, think about how quitting can add life to your years.

Quitting isn’t easy, and most people need outside help to kick the habit. Visit the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center website to learn more. And check out the Great American Smokeout for more resources. Make sure to visit HPRC’s Tobacco section too. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. 

 Image for Smoking BLUF 2016

E-cigarette “smoke” and your partner

E-cigarettes can harm the health of users and those who breathe in the secondhand emissions. Read up on tips for addressing concerns about secondhand “smoking” with your partner.

If your partner “vapes” with nicotine or uses e-cigarettes, you might be at risk for inhaling harmful secondhand “smoke.” E-cigarettes don’t produce actual smoke, but they do produce emissions with aerosol particles that contain nicotine, glycerin, artificial flavorings, and preservatives. We don’t yet know how harmful these emissions might be. On the flip side, there also isn’t clear evidence that breathing these emissions is safe.

E-cigarettes are electronic devices that vaporize liquid nicotine and other substances to be inhaled. Still underexplored, the impact of e-cigarettes on health has gained recent attention. Since e-cigarettes were not initially regulated by FDA, the ingredients in the devices were originally unlabeled. Studies suggest that in addition to nicotine, e-cigarettes sometimes include harmful chemicals that are carcinogens. Beginning in 2018, all e-cigarette packages will contain a warning label that indicates they contain nicotine, an addictive chemical.

Your partner’s e-cigarette habits can potentially impact the health of both of you. If you’re concerned about the unknown impact of e-cigarettes, have an open conversation about the topic. Consider the following tips:

  • Become knowledgeable about what’s known and unknown about e-cigarettes and nicotine before bringing up the conversation.
  • Gently bring up the topic. Start with something such as “I was wondering if we could talk about the use of e-cigarettes in the house?”
  • Mention that you’ve been reading about the health implications of e-cigarette vaping. You’ve grown concerned about how much is unknown and the potential harm.
  • Ask your partner what he or she knows about how e-cigarettes might impact one’s health.
  • Suggest coming up with a plan to minimize vaping indoors and especially around those who prefer to avoid inhaling the secondhand emissions.
  • Offer to support your partner through trying to cut back on or quit using e-cigarettes.
  • Express appreciation for supporting one another’s health.

“X” out tobacco

HPRC Fitness Arena: Mind Body, Total Force Fitness
Filed under: Apps, Smoking, Tobacco
Join the fun today and play tXtobacco, a new contest sponsored by the DoD and partners.

The Department of Defense (DoD), Quit Tobacco-UCanQuit2.org, and the National Cancer Institute have teamed up to promote tobacco-free living in the military with a new contest called tXtobacco.

  • What is it? tXtobacco is a text-message trivia game. The aim of the contest is to improve knowledge and change attitudes towards tobacco among service members and provide support to those who use tobacco.
  • How does it work? After you enroll, you’ll receive weekly text-message questions for one month. Points are awarded for participation and correct answers, and top-scorers will be acknowledged on weekly online leader boards.
  • Who can play? tXtobacco is designed for active-duty service members in post-basic training (both smokers and non-smokers) aged 18–24. But anyone in DoD can participate and is encouraged to join.
  • How do I sign up? Signing up is quick and easy. Just text TRIVIA to 47848. If you’re participating as part of a registered group, text the program code as well. Installation and service leads can request program codes by contacting info@UCanQuit2.org.
  • When can I start? Now! The contest is offered on a rolling basis and ends 12 December 2016. The last day to enroll is 13 November 2016.

For more information about tXtobacco, visit Quit Tobacco-UCanQuit2.org. Let the games begin!

Make today your “Quit Tobacco Day”

HPRC Fitness Arena: Mind Body, Total Force Fitness
Filed under: Smoking, Tobacco
There’s no better day than today to quit tobacco, and the DoD is here to help.

May 31 is World No Tobacco Day, an initiative sponsored by the World Health Organization to educate people across the globe about the dangers of tobacco and encourage them to stop using all tobacco products. It’s no secret: Tobacco causes cancer and other diseases. It also can lead to erectile dysfunction and decreases in physical performance. By quitting tobacco, you reduce these risks, but there are other benefits as well: Your overall health will improve, the people around you will be healthier, and you’ll save money. For example, cutting out one pack of cigarettes a day will save you around $2,000 a year!

If you’re thinking about quitting tobacco, trying to quit, or have tried to quit in the past without success, then visit Quit Tobacco – UCanQuit2.org, a DoD-sponsored educational campaign. It offers personalized plans and live 24-hour support to help you succeed in becoming tobacco free.

The real cost of tobacco

HPRC Fitness Arena: Mind Body, Total Force Fitness
Filed under: Smoking, Tobacco
Learn about the real cost of using tobacco and find resources to help you quit.

Using tobacco hurts your wallet and your health. Cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff, and chewing tobacco are expensive. Tobacco products can give you bad breath and stained teeth. Some tobacco users even lose their teeth. In addition, smoking tobacco damages your lungs, heart, and skin, causing you to look and feel older than you really are.

Despite all this, tobacco use among service members remains significantly higher compared to civilians. In an effort to reduce the number of tobacco users, the Defense Health Agency has teamed up with the Food and Drug Administration to promote “The Real Cost” campaign on military installations (at home and abroad).

The Department of Defense also sponsors an educational campaign that offers personalized plans for quitting tobacco and live 24-hour help. For more information, visit Quit Tobacco – UCanQuit2.org.

Quit tobacco without gaining weight

HPRC Fitness Arena: Nutrition, Total Force Fitness
You gain a lot of things by quitting tobacco, but weight doesn’t have to be one of them. Learn ways to quit tobacco without gaining extra weight.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disability in the United States. The positive effects of quitting tobacco are numerous: Reduce your risk of lung and other cancers, improve wound healing, decrease risk of infection, and save money. However, a major concern among those who consider quitting tobacco is weight gain. Most people who quit tobacco gain less than 10 lbs, but others gain more than 20 lbs. Many factors contribute to this weight gain, including eating more due to improved sense of smell and taste, boredom, the need to do something with your hands, and metabolic changes that happen after nicotine leaves your body.

Being prepared is essential to preventing weight gain when you quit tobacco. Know your habits: If your hands will be bored without a cigarette, find something else besides food to occupy them. Play with stress balls, silly putty, crosswords, and puzzles to keep your hands busy. Dropping a bad habit such as smoking is also a great time to pick up something new to do with your hands: Knitting, playing an instrument, gardening, and writing are all healthy ways to exercise your hands and your mind.

If you’re craving snacks, reach for fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and water, which help fill you up without a lot of calories. You may be confusing hunger with thirst; try a glass of water to see if that helps your cravings. Bored with plain water? Try calorie-free sparkling or seltzer water, or add lemon or lime slices, mint, berries, or cucumber to your water for a flavorful and refreshing drink.

And if you do find yourself eating more at or between meals, balance it out with exercise. Replace your usual smoking break with a walk outside or even around the office. Increase your usual gym routine; you may find exercise is easier after you quit tobacco.

For help quitting tobacco, or if you find yourself gaining weight no matter what you do, speak with your healthcare provider. And visit U Can Quit 2 and Tobacco-Free Living for additional information and resources. November is the Military Health System’s Tobacco Cessation month, so it’s a great time to make your own plan to quit tobacco. 

E-cigarettes spark new research

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposes sweeping new regulations on the multibillion-dollar e-cigarette industry and has asked for more research on the long-term health effects of these products.

E-cigarettes were introduced to help people stop smoking, but they are becoming a popular alternative to traditional cigarettes. But are they really a healthier substitute, as many companies claim? In short, we don’t yet have a full answer to this important question, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is on a mission to find out.

On April 25th, FDA released a proposal for new regulations on e-cigarettes—a multibillion-dollar industry that so far has not been highly regulated. In fact, FDA currently lacks the authority to collect vital information about these products. Traditional cigarettes deliver thousands of chemicals, many of which are dangerous, to cigarette smokers and non-smokers around them. By comparison, e-cigarettes deliver substantially fewer chemicals. However, little is known about the potential dangers of the chemicals that e-cigs deliver.

Proposed new rules would allow FDA to collect information about the ingredients in e-cigarettes, as well as their health and behavioral effects. It also suggests that more research is needed to study the long-term health effects of these products.

E-cigarettes are now being marketed with flavors popular among young people. Preliminary studies have found that young people who say they would never use a tobacco product are experimenting with e-cigarettes. The proposed new rules also would require e-cigarette users to be at least 18 years of age to purchase these products.

Although it’s still unclear how the popularity of e-cigarettes will impact public health, but it’s certain that more research will shed some light on their long-term effects.

TRICARE’s Smoking Cessation Webinar

HPRC Fitness Arena: Total Force Fitness
Filed under: Smoking, Tobacco
Learn about TRICARE’s smoking cessation benefit and programs in an upcoming webinar.

TRICARE is having a webinar on November 21st, 2013, from 1300 to 1400 (EST) about smoking cessation benefit and programs. Learn about the resources available to you. You can register to attend here. And for more information on quitting tobacco, check out this section of HPRC’s website.

Is “sparking up” better than lighting up?

HPRC Fitness Arena: Mind Tactics, Total Force Fitness
"Quit Tobacco, Make Everyone Proud" urges you to get the facts about electronic cigarettes.

If you’re a smoker, you’re probably aware of the products that advertise helping you cut back. One alternative that manufacturers claim is a safe alternative is electronic cigarettes, commonly known as “e-cigarettes.” Their purported safety is largely based on the fact that you’re inhaling tobacco vapor rather than smoke. But are those claims of safety accurate? FDA states that e-cigarettes have not been fully studied, and it is unknown whether they are safe and what their effects are. There is no way for users to know how much nicotine and other harmful chemicals they might be inhaling. According to an article from Quit Tobacco, Make Everyone Proud there are more reasons to think twice

  • The long-term impact of using e-cigarettes is still unknown.
  • E-cigarettes are not standardized or regulated. Not only are levels of nicotine and other ingredients unknown, but other hazards such as liquid nicotine leaks or battery malfunctions have occurred.
  • There also is concern over e-cigarettes appealing to children because many have sweet flavors.

Visit Quit Tobacco-Make Everyone Proud’s Research About E-cigarettes page for more information on the science behind e-cigarette safety.

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