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Schriever Health Promotion office educates Airmen about tobacco risks

Infographic with statistics about how a smoker's body improves when they quit smoking.

According to information from the American Cancer Society, a smoker’s body recovers in several ways after they quit smoking. For more information about tobacco cessation resources and education materials, call the Schriever Health Promotions office at 567-4292. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Marcus Hill)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Optimal health and a functional lifestyle remain vital for any military member.

In Colorado Springs, Airmen have the opportunity to learn about the benefits of eliminating smoking from their lives.

The Great American Smokeout, an annual nationwide event hosted on the third Thursday of November, teaches people about the benefits of quitting tobacco.

“This event happens annually on the third Thursday of November and encourages smokers to quit smoking,” said Carol Carr, 21 Medical Squadron Health Promotion coordinator. “We know smoking has negative health effects and this is one day to help educate Airmen on those risks and provide resources to help them quit.”

Carr said though the Great American Smokeout is a short event, it’s helped previous participants who previously participated.   

“Compared to last year, we have seen a reduction in smoking overall,” Carr said. “It is hard to say the full impact of a one-day event, but since (the first quarter) of 2019 until now smoking on (Schriever Air Force Base) is down half a percent.”

Those who quit smoking not only save money, but also reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle. 

According to information from the American Cancer Society, a smoker’s body recovers in several ways after they quit smoking.

Their research found:

  • 20 minutes after quitting, the body’s heart rate and blood pressure drops.
  • After a year, the risk of coronary heart disease is half that of someone who continues to smoke; after 15 years, it drops to the level of a nonsmoker.
  • Ten years after quitting, the risk of lung cancer is cut in half in half as well as larynx cancer and pancreatic cancer drop.

Some smokers switch from cigarettes to vaping, which also presents a challenge.

According to research from the Food and Drug Administration, some vaping products contain cannabidiol, or CBD.

Though CBD use is legal in Colorado and 16 other states, Air Force personnel are prohibited from using the substance.

Capt. Kelly Fennell, 50th Space Wing Chief of Military Justice, said CBD isn’t well regulated and could contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

“We can’t guarantee when you purchase CBD that you’re not going to find the active ingredient in what we think of as marijuana, which is THC,” Fennell said. “If you test positive for THC, that’s obviously detrimental for your career.”

Carr understands most people require more than a promotion to quit smoking. Airmen can get help to quit smoking from their primary care manager, including various medications.

Airmen can make appointments by calling 524-CARE.

For more information about tobacco cessation resources and education materials, call the Schriever Health Promotions office at 567-4292.

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