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Airmen asked to participate in DOD anti-tobacco video competition

WASHINGTON (AFMS) --

The Department of Defense, Health Affairs, has recently announced a new countermarketing video competition that aims to target tobacco as an enemy of the military that degrades service members' health, fitness, mission readiness and work productivity.

The competition entitled, "Fight the Enemy," will run until Oct. 15 and is open to all uniformed DOD personnel, families and DOD civilians, who may submit their best video entry with winners being announced in mid-November.

"If you don't believe tobacco impairs mission readiness, I encourage you to read the IOM report," said Col. (Dr.) John Oh, the chief of health promotion at the Air Force Medical Support Agency, referencing the 2009 Institute of Medicine report "Combating Tobacco Use in Military and Veteran Populations."

Although tobacco use causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, and even impotence, it can also cause other problems that directly impact warfighters, such as reduced endurance, decreased night vision, hearing loss, decreased wound healing, and increased post-operative complications.

Furthermore, DOD officials estimate that tobacco use costs $1.6 billion annually in medical costs and decreases work productivity -- a preventable expense the DOD can ill afford in the current austere fiscal climate, Oh said.

Based on DOD survey data, 17 percent of Airmen smoke cigarettes, a figure slightly less than the national average. Nine percent use smokeless tobacco, a number well above the 2 percent national average.

"We need to change how tobacco is perceived by Airmen and call it out as the enemy that it is, with adverse impact on health, mission performance, and the economic sustainability of our warfighting capabilities," Oh said.

A humorous promotional video, contest rules, and additional information can be found at www.health.mil/FightTheEnemy. Winners will be announced in conjunction with the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout. The first prize winner's video will be featured on the Fight the Enemy website. Winners will receive official recognition and thanks from DOD senior leaders, and all entrants will receive a gift of appreciation.

"The Fight the Enemy contest is a fun way for the DOD community to come up an effective message on how we can win the battle against tobacco," Oh said. "I know we have some very creative Airmen and family members out there who are up to the challenge."

For more information on how tobacco use affects you and those in your environment, as well as ways to quit tobacco, visit www.ucanquit2.org/.

(Courtesy of Air Force Surgeon General Public Affairs.)

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