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Consequences of Inconsistency in Air Force Tobacco Control Policy

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Objectives: Although the United States Air Force (USAF) has been a leader in efforts to reduce tobacco use among service members, tobacco continues to be a problem and initiatives to decrease tobacco use further require buy-in from leadership. We explored line leaderships' perspectives on tobacco. Methods: A diverse group of 10 senior commissioned and 10 non-commissioned personnel were interviewed. Results: Respondents reported substantial changes in the culture of tobacco use during their years of service, from near ubiquity to restricted use areas. They also perceived mixed messages coming from the USAF, including simultaneous discouragement of and accommodations for tobacco use, and variability in policies and enforcement. Many respondents indicated that allowing tobacco use creates conflict and undermines military discipline and suggested that a tobacco-free policy would be the best way to eliminate these contradictions. Conclusions: Although there has been substantial movement away from a culture of tobacco in the USAF, current policies and variable enforcement of these policies create unnecessary contradictions. Establishing a tobacco-free service would resolve these issues in addition to improving the health of service members and veterans.
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Keywords: ENFORCEMENT OF SMOKING RESTRICTIONS; SMOKING ACCOMMODATIONS; TOBACCO; TOBACCO CONTROL POLICY; UNITED STATES AIR FORCE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2017-04-01

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 4 times per year.
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