Many military tobacco users eventually enter the VA health system or the DoD TRICARE system. Most tobacco-related diseases take years to develop, so these two health-care systems bear much of the burden of care, and each has a vested interest in assisting active-duty and retired military personnel and veterans in quitting the use of tobacco. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) was asked to conduct a study in response to DoD’s and VA’s need to determine what the medical and public-health records can document as best practices for reducing tobacco consumption by military and veteran populations.
DoD and VA asked IOM to convene a committee to recommend ways for the two agencies to work together to improve the health of active-duty and veteran populations with regard to tobacco-use initiation and cessation. The agencies asked that the committee consider the following:
Identify policies and practices that might by used by DoD and VA to prevent initiation of smoking and other tobacco use in the military.
Identify policies or potential barriers that might inhibit broader implementation of evidence-based tobacco-use cessation care in both DoD and VA.
Identify opportunities for increased access to evidence-based smoking and other tobacco-use cessation programs in VA and DoD.
Evaluate changes, including changes in policy, that could help to lower rates of smoking and other tobacco use in military and veteran populations.
Identify policies and practices that address unique tobacco-use prevention and cessation needs of special populations in DoD and VA, including those with psychiatric or substance-use disorders, those with chronic medical comorbidities, and women.
Recommend research approaches for reducing initiation of tobacco use and promoting tobacco-use cessation.
In response to that request, IOM convened the Committee on Smoking Cessation in Military and Veteran Populations, which wrote this report.