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US Veterans and Tobacco Addiction

by James Heller 16. June 2009 12:25
It should come as no surprise that U.S. military personnel and veterans use tobacco at higher rates than the general public.  The common picture, film, or portrait of soldiers typically includes someone smoking a cigarette, pipe or cigar.  There are several reasons for this long-term trend, and knowing them can help reduce future harm.  But those who are already tobacco addicts need to be educated and treated.

Education is needed to correct misconceptions among smokers.  The great majority of U.S. citizens, including smokers, know that cigarette smoking is harmful to one’s health and those around them.  But smokers also believe that tobacco brings relaxation, or an escape.  This belief leads a nicotine addict to ignore the harms and cherish the imagined benefits.

Tobacco smoking habits typically begin during military service for veterans.  Upon returning to civilian life, addicted to nicotine, the “learned behavior” that smoking cigarettes calms discourages them from quitting for health reasons.  It is so deeply engrained that education is necessary to change the thought process.

Education is a part of the whole nicotine addiction treatment process.  Treatment also needs to include individual and group counseling, as well as replacement therapy with nicotine patches, gums, or lozenges.  These can be included in an alcohol and drug treatment program, offering convenience and better health outcomes.

Tarzana Treatment Centers offers smoking cessation programs for interested patients in alcohol and drug treatment.  Our integrated behavioral healthcare program allows U.S. Veterans to receive alcohol and drug treatment, tobacco addiction treatment, and mental health treatment all under one roof, when the need arises.

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers some good information for veterans about tobacco use.  A portion of an article is below.  

-- Begin external content --

Veterans who receive their health care through VA are much more likely to smoke and use tobacco than the rest of the U.S. population. They also are heavier smokers and have higher rates of smoking-related illnesses. Many veterans have told us that they first began smoking in the military. In fact, during World War II and the Korean War, cigarettes were often provided free as part of K- rations. Many in the military thought then that smoking was a good way to help keep soldiers alert and awake in the battlefield and the command, "smoke 'em if you got 'em" is one that many older veterans remember. Recruits may have even been able to earn smoking breaks during military training and boot camp. Unfortunately, this early tobacco use led quickly to a lifetime addiction and a wide list of health-related problems.

-- Source: https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhvPortal/anonymous.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=healthyLiving&contentPage=healthy_living/smoking_cessation_intro.htm --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County and Orange County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley, and in Santa Ana.