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Campaign urges Airmen to be ... “Through with chew”

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash., -- Airmen were encouraged to take note of the consequences of using smokeless tobacco this week as part of "through with chew" week. 

The focus of the campaign was awareness and highlighting the fact that McChord's Health and Wellness Center offers tobacco cessation classes. 

"We want people who are using to know that we provide classes, and they can quit," said Michelle Finley, the 62nd Medical Group's health education program manager. 

"There are lots of people who have gone through the program and have become tobacco free." 

In addition to a referral to the clinic for members requesting nicotine replacement therapy, the classes focus on behavior modification techniques and the learned behaviors that can trigger tobacco use, Ms. Finley said. 

"We just want to get them to stop and think about what their pattern is and how they can break it," she said. "Learning the behavior modification techniques is what will take them through the long term." 

Those who have tried to quit before are also welcome to attend the class.
"Sometimes it can take up to seven to nine tries to quit," Ms. Finley said. "You have to become good at it." 

The classes will also focus on using a buddy system where the person trying to quit will be encouraged and held accountable for their tobacco use by someone they respect, Ms. Finley said. 

In addition to the classes, there will also be handouts available at the dental and family medicine clinics illustrating the dangers of using tobacco, said Capt. Raul Rubio, 62nd Medical Operations Squadron. 

"You add tobacco use to issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart problems and diabetes in patients and it makes things worse," Captain Rubio said. 

A recent dental exam survey of nearly 4,000 Airmen at McChord showed that a little more than five percent of the group used smokeless tobacco, while almost twenty percent were smokers. 

The next classes start Wednesday at the HAWC at 3 and 4:30 p.m. and are open to active duty, dependents, Air National Guard, Reservists, retired military personnel and Department of Defense civilians. The classes run one hour a week for five weeks.
To register for the tobacco cessation classes, call the HAWC at 982-2393.