About 3 in 10 U.S. veterans use tobacco products

New data from CDC show that approximately 3 in 10 U.S. military veterans used some type of tobacco product during 2010–15.

New data from CDC show that approximately 3 in 10 U.S. military veterans used some type of tobacco product during 2010–15. The study, published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, noted that use of tobacco products was higher among veterans than among non-veterans for males and females across all age groups, save for males aged 50 years and older. "These findings highlight the importance of further protecting the health of our military veterans," said Corinne Graffunder, DrPH, director of CDC's Office on Smoking and Health. "We must redouble our efforts to help veterans quit and reduce the preventable suffering and premature death caused by tobacco use." For the study, researchers looked at data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health to assess the tobacco products currently being used by veterans and non-veterans. For veterans, current use was highest for cigarettes (21.6%), followed by cigars (6.2%) and smokeless tobacco (5.2%). Current use of any of the tobacco products by veterans was higher among those with no health insurance, living in poverty, aged 18–25 years, reporting serious psychological distress, with an annual family income less than $20,000, and with less than a high school diploma. The report also noted the high prevalence of tobacco use among military and veteran personnel has a big financial effect. In 2010, the Veterans Health Administration spent an estimated $2.7 billion on smoking-related ambulatory care, prescription medications, hospitalization, and home health care. Efforts to reduce tobacco use among veterans could include promoting cessation to current military personnel and veterans, adopting tobacco-free policies at military installations and VA medical facilities, raising the age requirement to buy tobacco on military bases to 21 years, and ending tobacco product discounts through military retailers.