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Report: Pennsylvania Military Bases Should Go Smoke Free

July 20, 2009

WASHINGTON - Pennsylvania's five military bases should go smoke-free, according to a new report on military tobacco use by the Federal Institute of Medicine. Doctor Ken Kizer, one of the authors of the report, says tobacco use not only costs the country millions of dollars for health care, it also impairs military readiness.

"Tobacco has adverse effects on attention, on night vision; it increases the likelihood of motor vehicle accidents. If you happen to get injured, wounds don't heal as well among those who smoke."

He says the report was commissioned by the Department of Defense as part of its efforts to identify policies and practices that could lower the rates of smoking in the military.

"These include things like eliminating the sale, at discounted prices, of tobacco products at the PXs and commissaries, and making the military work site tobacco free."

Kizer says the report makes a number of recommendations on how to gradually phase in a ban on tobacco use in the military.

Pennsylvania's bases include the Carlisle Barracks, the Defense Depot in Susquehanna, the Defense Supply Center in Philadelphia, the Tobyhanna Army Depot and the Willow Grove Naval Air Base, which is scheduled to be closed and taken over by the state in 2011.

Copies of the report, titled, "Combating Tobacco Use in Military and Veteran Populations," are available from the National Academies Press at www.nap.edu

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - PA