NEWS | March 27, 2012

628th Medical Group facilities become tobacco free

By Lt. Col. April Broome 628th Medical Group Health Care Integrator

Effective March 31, the 628th Medical Group at Joint Base Charleston will join other military treatment facilities across the Air Force Medical Service and will enjoy a tobacco-free campus status.

The tobacco-free campus medical buildings include Bldg. 364 (Main Clinic), Bldg. 1000 (Mental Health and Education and Training), Bldg. 1001 (Logistics Warehouse), Bldg. 631 (Bioenvironmental) and Bldg. 697 (Warehouse).
The Air Force Surgeon General has stated tobacco use is inconsistent with a fit and healthy force and continued use of tobacco products by Airmen has a negative impact on the Air Force mission.

There are about 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes. When the chemicals in cigarettes are inhaled, they put your body into a state of physical stress by sending these poisons, toxic metals and carcinogens coursing through your bloodstream with every puff. Those chemicals affect everything from blood pressure and heart rate to the health of your organs and immune system.

The Center for Disease Control reports that tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States. Each year, cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke causes 443,000 deaths - that is one out of every five deaths in the United States.

1st Lt. Nathan Ley, 628th MDG smoking cessation coordinator said, "I strongly feel that the transition of the 628th MDG to a tobacco-free campus is instrumental to the ongoing success of our tobacco cessation program and to our goal of ensuring Comprehensive Airman Fitness. As a Medical Group, it is important that we project a positive image not only to our patients, but also to our fellow Airmen and civilians. This projection should be that we do not condone or permit the use of tobacco on the campus of the 628th MDG.

"The short-term and long-term benefits from tobacco cessation are astounding. Short-term benefits include: immediate reduction in resting heart rate and blood pressure, decreased blood carbon monoxide levels, improved sense of smell and taste and also a substantial improvement in lung function leading to a decrease in phlegm production, coughing and wheezing. The long-term benefits of tobacco cessation are endless; however, the most prominent are a reduction in the risk of heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer (not only lung cancer) and premature death."

It is the 628th MDG's goal to provide the healthiest environment possible for our beneficiaries and staff. In an effort to support a tobacco-free campus, the Health and Wellness Center will provide valuable resources on tobacco cessation and smoking prevention programs for individuals who may have difficulty quitting smoking. Current smokers may contact the Health and Wellness Center at 963-4087 for tobacco cessation information and all beneficiaries may call the American Lung Association Quitline at 1-877-695-7848 or the South Carolina Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669).

Additional questions or concerns can be addressed to Lt. Col. April Broome at 963-6726.