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Let's make sure new army recruits don't become smokers

Army hits target for recruits

From USA Today

The Army and its Reserve component will meet their recruiting goals for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, powered in part by a surge in women who want to be soldiers, the service announced Tuesday.

Last year, Army recruiters struggled but met their quota of 59,000 active-duty recruits. Even though the Army is reducing its ranks, the target of 62,500 recruits for 2016 was higher.

Our Take

Does joining the military lead you to smoke? It could, but we can change that. While tobacco use among new military recruits is generally the same as the general population, by the time new recruits finish their training and take their first assignments, that rate is significantly higher than the national average. The sad fact is: 38 percent of military smokers start after enlisting. This is despite a smoking ban during basic training. Just this year, the Defense Department took important steps to address the problem, expanding smoke-free zones, increasing education about the dangers of tobacco use, strengthening their tobacco cessation programs and raising the cost of cigarettes on bases. We can do better for our new recruits. We must do everything we can to protect the health and readiness of the men and women who protect us – including reducing tobacco use in the military.

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