COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
The Air Force has always strived to ensure its members maintain peak health and physical fitness.
A change to Air Force Instruction 40-102, “Tobacco Free Living,” seeks to further reduce harmful health impacts such as smoking on installations.
The change to AFI 40-102 further clarifies tobacco-free environments by prohibiting tobacco use in "installation recreation facilities, including but not limited to athletic fields, running tracks, basketball courts, golf courses, beaches, marinas, and parks." It prohibits smoking in vehicles with children, and reinforces that medical campuses are 100-percent tobacco free. The instruction also prohibits special events in services' facilities that promote tobacco use, such as "Cigar Night," which run counter to Comprehensive Airman Fitness and an Air Force culture of health.
Columbus Air Force Base is ensuring compliance with the updated AFI and is reducing the number of Designated Tobacco Areas on the installation. These DTAs, which are marked with permanent signage, are the only on-base public areas where tobacco products may be used.
Tobacco products include but are not limited to the following: cigars, cigarettes, electronic-cigarettes, stem pipes, water pipes, hookahs, and smokeless products that are chewed, dipped, or sniffed. Public use of tobacco outside of the defined DTAs is in direct violation of the policy and is subject to corrective action.
Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States – and secondhand smoke is responsible for an estimated 49,400 heart and lung cancer deaths each year nationwide. The chemicals from tobacco smoke travel from the lungs into the bloodstream. They damage an individual’s heart and blood vessels to cause cardiovascular problems, such as heart disease and stroke. Cardiovascular disease kills over 800,000 people a year nationwide.
The Department of Defense spends more than $1.6 billion each year on tobacco-related medical care, increased hospitalization and lost days of work. In 2006, tobacco-related costs to the Military Health Service alone cost $564 million.
Airmen and their family members seeking assistance in quitting tobacco use can utilize one of many programs offered at the 14th Medical Group. The Health Promotion office, located in the Koritz Medical Clinic, offers several free tobacco cessation programs.