JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco is the top preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S. It kills more than 480,000 people annually in the U.S., and 6 million worldwide.
Tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which are known to cause cancer. Its use, of any kind, can lead to nicotine dependency -- which often requires repeated treatments. More people in the U.S. are addicted to nicotine than any other drug.
"Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body," said Charlene Rees, Naval Hospital (NH) Jacksonville's regional health promotion coordinator. "However, quitting smoking has immediate, as well as long-term benefits for smokers and their loved ones."
People who stop smoking can greatly reduce their risk for disease and early death. Diseases and health conditions associated with smoking include heart disease, lung cancer, reduced fertility, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) -- which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
The potential long-term effects of e-cigarettes are not currently known. U.S. health organizations recommend they be strongly regulated or banned. The number of calls to poison centers for e-cigarette liquids rose from one per month in 2010 to 215 per month in 2014.
Smokeless tobacco is no better. Its use can lead to heart disease, stroke, increased pregnancy complications, as well as cancer of the mouth, esophagus, and pancreas.
Equally as bad are the effects of secondhand smoke, which contains the same chemicals a smoker inhales. Secondhand smoke harms both adults and children, even with brief exposure.
Quitting tobacco provides both short- and long-term benefits. For example, 20 minutes after quitting smoking, the heart rate reduces. Twelve hours after quitting, the body's carbon monoxide level drops to normal. Two to three months after quitting, heart attack risk drops and lung functions improve.
NH Jacksonville's Wellness Center helps patients curb tobacco with medication, gum, classes, and counseling. Services are available to active-duty, retirees, and TRICARE-eligible family members.
The Wellness Center offers individual or group classes three times each week by walk-in or appointment on Monday at 9 a.m., Tuesday at 1 p.m., and Thursday at noon. The Wellness Center sees about 2,500 patients per year across the hospital and five branch health clinics, and has a successful long-term quit rate.
Wellness Center staff will have a booth in front of the Navy Exchange Nov. 17, in recognition of the Great American Smokeout -- an annual event which encourages Americans to quit tobacco for a day, in the hope they might quit for good.
The time is now. Visit the hospital's Wellness Center, located next to Naval Air Station Jacksonville's fitness center, or call 904-542-5292. Active-duty personnel can also stop by or call Naval Branch Health Clinic Jacksonville's Health Promotions at 904-546-7062.
At the Department of Defense's http://www.ucanquit2.org/, smokers can find tools like quit plans, savings calculators, and live chat. For additional information, visit the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center at http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcphc/.
Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, NH Jacksonville's priority since its founding in 1941 is to heal the nation's heroes and their families. The command is comprised of the Navy's third largest hospital and five branch health clinics across Florida and Georgia. Of its patient population -- 163,000 active and retired Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, guardsmen, and their families -- about 85,000 are enrolled with a primary care manager and Medical Home Port team at one of its facilities.
To find out more or download the command's mobile app, visit http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/navalhospitaljax/.
For more information, visit http://www.navy.mil, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy, or http://www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Naval Hospital Jacksonville, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/nhjax/.