Military fighting troop smoking

July 29, 2009 at 2:17 PM

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., July 29 (UPI) -- Military sites in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia are embracing cessation efforts intended to curb troops' smoking habits, an official says.

Lt. Col. George R. Goodwin Jr., deputy commander for clinical services at Virginia's Fort Eustis, said new recruits at the Newport News, Va., site undergoes a smoking cessation briefing after they arrive, the Newport News Daily Press reported Wednesday.

Goodwin said all recruits also are offered access to various smoking cessation materials, including nicotine patches, to help them quit the dangerous habit.

"These resources are available for anyone who comes through the door," he said.

The efforts at the Virginia military sites come in the wake of a study by the Institute of Medicine that recommends a ban on smoking in the U.S. military.

A study by the group says more than 30 percent of the members of the active-duty military smoke compared with the civilian smoking rate of 19.8 percent.

The Daily Press said the study, which came at the request of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Pentagon, also found tobacco-related diseases and lost productivity among troops costs more than $846 million annually.

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