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Combating Tobacco Use in Military and Veteran Populations
personnel to act as role models for children. Some of the outreach activities being proposed or conducted for the program include advertisements in Military Times and public-service announcements in commercial theaters, on pizza-delivery boxes, and on gasoline-pump toppers at commercial locations within 5 miles of military installations. The program has not been evaluated to determine its reach or effectiveness. The committee applauds the DoD for working to change the social norm in the military regarding tobacco use.
The MHS and TRICARE also promote the Through with Chew Week, which includes the Great American Spit Out, to coincide with the American Cancer Society (ACS) Great American Smokeout. This activity is covered by the Pentagon News Channel with news clips, a press release, videos from military leaders, and testimonials from participants. The Great American Smokeout receives prominent notice each year on military-health Web sites and in various print resources. The Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (CHPPM) provides a variety of posters and handouts that can be used around Army installations to promote tobacco cessation; its Web site lists tobacco cessation as a “hot topic” with links to patient-education materials.
TRICARE posts current and past news releases on tobacco control on its Web site (www.tricare.mil); five news releases featured tobacco in 2008. The TRICARE Health Beat E-Newsletter for beneficiaries also periodically publishes articles on tobacco control.
The committee finds that DoD has launched an innovative public-education campaign to encourage tobacco cessation in military personnel to help meet Goal B.3. More information on the tobacco-cessation messages that have the greatest effect on military personnel would help DoD tailor its public-education campaigns more effectively. Although the target audience is enlisted men 18–24 years old, as is evident from the pictures and other promotional materials, much of the Web site is applicable to a wider audience. Modification of the materials for each armed service is particularly useful, and the use of interactive components would enhance the effectiveness of the site.
Finding: DoD has initiated antitobacco counteradvertisingcampaigns, the most recent of which is the “Quit Tobacco.Make Everyone Proud” program. Each of the armedservices has developed similar campaigns tailored to thespecific cultures of the services. These programs areappropriately aimed at young male personnel, thepopulation with the highest tobacco use.