Tobacco's Grip on U.S. Veterans

From - January 11, 2018

Tobacco's Grip on U.S. Veterans

THURSDAY, Jan. 11, 2018 -- Nearly 40 percent of U.S. military veterans smoke or use some form of tobacco.

Data from 2010-2015 revealed that 21.6 percent of veterans reported current use (within the past 30 days) of cigarettes, 6.2 percent used cigars, 5.2 percent used smokeless tobacco, 3 percent used roll-your-own tobacco, and 1.5 percent used pipes, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tobacco use was higher among veterans than non-veterans for males and females across all age groups, except for males 50 and older.

Among veterans, current tobacco use was highest among those: with no health insurance (60 percent); living in poverty (54 percent); ages 18 to 25 (57 percent); with serious mental distress (48 percent); with a family income of less than $20,000 (44 percent); and with less than a high school diploma (38 percent).

Tobacco use among current and former military personnel was associated with high medical costs. In 2010, the Veterans Health Administration spent $2.7 billion on smoking-related ambulatory care, prescription drugs, hospitalization, and home health care, the report found.

The findings appear in the Jan. 12 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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