In 1999, the Alcohol and Tobacco Advisory Counsel in the OASD(HA) developed a Tobacco Use Prevention Strategic Plan that outlined goals and tasks; metrics and objectives; policy, program, practice, and resource requirements; and a timeline. That plan, which is still in effect, has eight goals:
Reduce smoking rates by 5% per year and reduce smokeless-tobacco use to 15% by 2001.
Promote a tobacco-free lifestyle and culture through education and leadership.
Educate commanders about how to encourage healthy and tobacco-free lifestyles.
Promote the benefits of nonsmoking and provide tobacco counteradvertising.
Decrease accessibility by increasing tobacco prices and by restricting smoking areas and use.
Have the MHS identify users and provide targeted interventions.
Have the MHS provide effective cessation programs.
Continually assess best practices in tobacco-use prevention.
The strategic plan covers many of the key components that make up a comprehensive tobacco-control plan, including the existence of a strategic plan itself, policy review and development, public-relations and education activities, the use of evidence-based tobacco-cessation interventions, and surveillance and evaluation. It also has requirements for specific policies on tobacco pricing, access, and restrictions of when and where tobacco can be used on installations.
The committee found that DoD and the armed services have not been able to achieve the goal of reducing smoking rates or rates of smokeless-tobacco use. Tobacco use declined overall from 1980 to 2005, but there has recently been an increase in consumption, possibly because of increased tobacco use by deployed troops.
DoD and the armed services have promoted tobacco-free lifestyles through public-education campaigns, commander training, a complete ban on tobacco use during basic military training in all the services, and prohibition of tobacco use by training instructors in the presence of students. Tobacco use is addressed in health-education programs, including those for commanding officers. The services also encourage—but do not require—that commanders lead by example with regard to tobacco use. The Air Force has been the most successful in reducing tobacco use, particularly among officers.