It’s never too late to quit

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- As the Air Force continues to consider new and efficient ways of protecting its most valuable resource - Airmen -- the concept of a future smoke-free environment becomes more of a reality.

Although tobacco is still tolerated in designated areas, changes in the culture of acceptance continue to occur, as seen in Air Force Instruction 40-102, which establishes procedures to control use. However, as the Air Force gradually eliminates tobacco use, it also offers an opportunity for individuals to quit through a program known as tobacco cessation.

"This is a really good class," explained Mark Tschampl, 366th Medical Group director of the Health and Wellness Center. "We have the second highest quit rate in the Air Force, the highest quit rate in Air Combat Command and a 99 percent participant satisfaction rate."

The class has even been able to make an impact in the lives of individuals who have regularly practiced tobacco use for many years.

"Upon completion of the class, my wife and I successfully quit after more than 30 years of smoking," declared Albert Witrosky, 366th MDG information systems technician.

This particular smoking cessation class offered at MHAFB is unique in that it offers the same reward at a fraction of the time.

"Most tobacco cessation classes are multiple sessions, usually anywhere from three to four sessions that are about two hours each," said Tschampl. "It's really difficult, particularly for our active-duty members, to have the kind of time to attend that much class. What we have done here is cut out the 'fluff' with a program of absolute hard-hitting facts and information that someone needs to quit effectively, all in just a single two-hour class."

The primary incentive for most people to quit is the increase in various aspects of their health.

"There are numerous health benefits from quitting tobacco permanently, specifically for active- duty military members," said Tschampl. "The health of Airmen is critical when it comes to their ability to perform the mission. Some of the things tobacco does is reduce night vision and cardiac output, so there are all kinds of things quitting would help with."

In the end, quitting tobacco remains a choice -- one that only the individual can make.

"I think the first and most important issue is the individual has to make the decision to quit," stated Witrosky. "Once that decision is made, this program has the tools to get that individual successfully off tobacco."

For more information on the tobacco cessation class, contact Mark Tschampl at 828-2175.