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Combating Tobacco Use in Military and Veteran Populations
drink and then you started smoking” (Haddock, 2008). Over 40% of those responding to the 2005 DoD survey, specifically, over 50% of those in the Army and Marine Corps and 30% in the Air Force reported that most of their friends in the military smoked (DoD, 2006). According to a junior enlisted member, “I have friends and they’d maybe smoke occasionally when they drink or something, when they’d go out socially. When we went to Baghdad they smoked every day. Pack a day. Just went out of control. They’d say it was a stress reliever” (Haddock, 2008).
Smoke pits are designated areas for military personnel to take regular smoking breaks; they provide an opportunity to socialize with others while possibly encouraging tobacco use by both smokers and nonsmokers. A junior enlisted smoker stated: “I’ve been out to the smoke pit all the time and two or three people that don’t normally smoke bum a cigarette so they can stay.” In addition, junior military personnel report additional pressure to socialize with the senior military personnel who often frequent the smoke pits (Haddock, 2008). Wanting to remain in good standing with one’s superiors and building camaraderie among peers may drive military personnel to increase their frequency of smoke-pit visits and facilitate joining by those who would not normally attend.
TABLE 3-4 Perceived Cigarette Availability and Acceptability and Reasons for Starting Smoking Regularly, by Service (%)
Measure/Type of Estimate
Perceived availability and acceptability
Most of my friends in the military smoke
My spouse, live-in partner, or the person I date disapproves of my smoking