Premilitary Tobacco Use by Male Marine Corps Recruits
NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER SAN DIEGO CA
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Recognizing both the medical and operational costs of tobacco use, the Department of Defense has made tobacco cessation a top health promotion priority. Military tobacco rates remain high, however, especially among younger personnel and, particularly, in the Marine Corps. Tobacco is prohibited during basic training, but relapse is common following boot camp graduation. The objective of this study was to determine patterns and prevalence of tobacco use among Marine Corps recruits before entering basic training. Over a period of 14 months, 15,689 graduating male recruits completed a survey of their preservice tobacco use. Approximately 81 reported having tried tobacco at least once and 57 were classified as at-risk users. Compared to their civilian peers, more recruits were daily users and many more used smokeless tobacco. Approximately 67 of users evidenced at least one indicator of dependence. There is a clear need for additional tobacco cessation efforts to target this high-risk population.
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