News: TRICARE’s online smoking cessation helps kick the habit
Story by Cpl. Salvador R. Moreno
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — Quitting smoking is only a click away for service members and dependants thanks to TRICARE’s new online counseling service.
All TRICARE members are eligible to receive tobacco cessation support through the Department of Defense website, www.ucanquit2.org. It’s a free online support system that prepares tobacco users to quit the habit, using interactive components such as quit tools, self-assessment questionnaires, quizzes and activities.
“It’s a new initiative TRICARE is adding to its services so people have an easier time getting tobacco cessation,” said Nicole Preston, Marine Corps Community Services Health Promotion director. “Its goal is easier access to care.”
Preston holds tobacco cessations classes through MCCS but encourages everyone to quit by using whatever method works best for them.
“I tried quitting once with the patches but didn’t like them,” said Cpl. Renard Gibson, aircraft maintenance administration for Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364. “The everyday routine of smoking was the hardest thing to break. I think it helps to have a coach online to help you fight the urge of smoking.”
Service members often have demanding schedules, so the online support system can be readily available for those who have web-enabled phones.
“It won’t take as much time during the day to go online,” Gibson said. “It’s easier to check your phone to stay on track, than to schedule an appointment.”
The website provides medication information, news articles, podcasts, widget updates and special monthly features to keep the TRICARE members informed and motivated.
A 2005 study by the American Lung Association showed 32 percent of active duty service members smoke. More than 23 percent of current service members plan to quit smoking within the next month, and 40 percent more plan to quit within the next six months, according to a 2008 DoD survey of health related behaviors.
“We now know tobacco is a hazardous substance and the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S. So we do our very best in the military health systems to discourage people from taking up tobacco use and support tobacco users in quitting if they are motivated to do so,” said Dr. Jack Smith, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for clinical and program policy and acting chief medical officer, TRICARE management activity.
For more information on how to quit and stay quit, contact your health care provider, MCCS health promotion or go to www.ucanquit2.org.