Help offered to II MEF Marines kicking the habit

31 Oct 2006 | Lance Cpl. Christopher Lyttle

There are plenty of good reasons Marines should quit the tobacco habit. What many are unaware of is Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune offers a Health Promotion Tobacco Cessation Program to assist Marines, families and government employees who want to quit.

“The cessation program covers the medical aspects of tobacco, behavioral aspects of usage, and proper nutrition,” said John E. Swett, tobacco program coordinator, Naval Hospital Health Promotion Department. “Our one-hour sessions are held four times a week, and we hold open discussions with participants about ways to consciously avoid tobacco use.”

In addition to having facilitators who educate and create a social atmosphere for those trying to quit, prescription alternatives are offered to those who are eligible.

Swett described how the cessation program helps participants understand their regular use of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

“Tobacco use for most people is an unconscious act at times. Cessation of use involves being aware of downtime when you’d normally light up or dip,” Swett explained.

Swett also mentioned how carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke contributes to hypoxia, or lightheadedness, which created problems for the service members who first deployed to Afghanistan because of high elevation.

“Tobacco products are potentially deadly, like insurgents in our own country. It’s slowly taking life away one drag or pinch at a time,” said Swett.

The Naval Hospital and the American Cancer Society are scheduled to promote the annual Great American Smokeout, Nov. 13 through 17 at the Marine Corps Exchange. Events include a poster contest for Department of Defense schools, a Marine Corps Community Services 5k run, and guest speaker Gary Miner is scheduled to appear and share his experience with attendees about being a cancer survivor.

GASO and the Tobacco Cessation Program are here for active duty, family members, retirees and government employees. Programs provide information and support for those finding it hard to quit on their own.

“Usually, people make two or three attempts before they become successful at quitting,” said Swett. “For anyone to be truly successful, they're going to have to want it all the way.”

Information about the Tobacco Cessation Program and the upcoming GASO is available at the Naval Hospital Health Promotion office, Building 4, or by calling 451-3712.