Top 5 reasons to kick the habit

  • Published
  • By Maj. Lisa Tauai
  • Health Promotion Flight commander
As the New Year is still in its early stages, it is an excellent time to consider the importance of overall health and wellness. Most individuals typically begin their New Year's quest to lose additional weight and become more physically fit. Although these are great ambitions, what about a goal to kick the tobacco habit and/or to help others do the same?

Ramstein has a tobacco use rate of approximately 25 percent. The Air Force has a goal to reduce the number of tobacco users to 14 percent by 2010. To reach this goal, tobacco users must find an internal motivator that drives a strong desire to kick the habit.

Until this motivator is discovered, the member can become increasingly frustrated after numerous attempts to quit that only lead to tobacco use relapse.

In the search for this driving force, consider these top five reasons to kick the habit. Even if just one of them sparks interest, this article has accomplished its mission.

Reason 5: Tobacco use is expensive.
The cost of a pack averages $4.32. Therefore, a pack-a-day smoker spends $30.24 a week and $1,600 per year. If servicemembers chose to kick the habit and invest this money into a traditional stock market mutual fund instead, at a standard 8 percent annual interest rate, they will be approximately $10,137.60 richer in five years time.

Reason 4: Tobacco use is exceptionally bad for the health.
In addition to premature wrinkles, leathery skin, and brittle and yellow fingernails, lung cancer, blindness, significantly reduced mental health and a multitude of other health problems are highly probable over time.

Reason 3: Tobacco use can hinder unit morale.
When taking into account that each user takes approximately four tobacco breaks lasting 15 minutes each, lost productivity is propelled by approximately one hour a day, five hours per week, 20 hours per month, and 240 hours per year. Who picks up the slack? Co-workers.

Reason 2: Tobacco use hurts others.
Before lighting a cigarette or cigar, consider this: The American Lung Association reports that secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 46,000 heart disease deaths in adult nonsmokers in the United States each year. Secondhand smoke has especially negative consequences on the health of children. Kick the habit for the health benefits of others.

Reason 1: The culture of the Air Force is changing.
Long gone are the days of the past where the majority of the Air Force used tobacco products. In fact, the scenario is quite different now as evidence by tobacco-free initiatives throughout the Armed Forces. As everybody knows, flexibility is the key to air power. The Air Force continues to change and evolve which makes it the leading fighting force in the world. One of those changes is the goal to dramatically reduce tobacco use by 2010.

For more information on this topic or to learn about the tobacco cessation programs and services the Ramstein Health and Wellness Center offers, call 480-4292 or visit