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February 23, 1994

Tobacco Use Out of Step With US Armed Forces

JAMA. 1994;271(8):580. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510320020007

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IT'S NO LONGER "smoke 'em if you've got 'em" in the US military, which hopes to be tobacco-free early next century.

Many an enlisted service member has heard a noncommissioned officer use the phrase in giving permission to smoke a cigarette during a break in military activity. Now, with stronger emphasis than ever, the armed forces are urging members not to smoke or chew tobacco.

The US Department of Defense is expected to issue a clean air policy that may further strengthen the services' antitobacco efforts. In the meantime, the surgeons general of the US Navy (which provides medical support for the US Marine Corps), US Army, and US Air Force are emphasizing that ceasing to use tobacco is a step in taking responsibility for one's own health, improving productivity, and allowing more efficient and cost-effective use of military medical resources.

Donald F. Hagen, MD, vice admiral and surgeon general

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