Many soldiers are unaware that the Army’s restrictions on smoking include smokeless tobacco products. Both soldiers and civilians using smokeless tobacco or cigarettes in a federal facility can be held in violation of Army regulations, the Leesville Daily Leader reports.
Major Arlene LeDoux, Chief Public Health Nurse at Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital’s Department of Preventive Medicine in Fort Polk, LA, said many soldiers incorrectly believe smokeless tobacco is safer than cigarettes. Patricia Taylor, a health promotion nurse at the hospital, noted some soldiers become addicted to smokeless tobacco because they receive free products from tobacco companies.
An estimated 19 percent of 18-24-year-old men in the armed forces use smokeless tobacco, more than double the national rate, according to TRICARE, the health care program for Uniformed Service members.
According to Army Regulation 600-63 (Personnel—General Army Health Promotion), tobacco use is prohibited in all Department of the Army-occupied workplaces, except for designated smoking areas. The regulation states, “Using tobacco products (to include cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, smokeless tobacco, inhaled tobacco, and all other tobacco products designed for human consumption) harms readiness by impairing physical fitness and by increasing illness, absenteeism, premature death, and health care costs.”