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Marine Corps Base Quantico targets tobacco use during a healthy base initiative. Smoking is responsible for over 440,000 deaths per year.

Photo by Pfc. Samuel Ellis

Now you can quit smoking

25 Jun 2013 | Pfc. Samuel Ellis Marine Corps Base Quantico

Cigarette smoking is responsible for about one in five deaths annually, more than 440,000 deaths per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website,. This is one reason why Marine Corps Base Quantico has devoted personnel and programs to promote tobacco cessation.

As part of the healthy base initiative, Marine Corps Base Quantico offers various types of assistance to those wanting to end their addiction to smoking.

“Tobacco is a No. 1 killer,” said Patricia Padgett, registered nurse health educator. “Tobacco effects people physically, mentally and emotionally. It permeates a person.”

Among being highly addictive, there are other side effects associated with tobacco use.

According to the American Cancer Society, besides lung cancer, tobacco use also increases the risk for cancers of the mouth, lips, nasal cavity, sinuses, larynx, throat, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, uterus, cervix, colon/rectum, and ovary.

“Other than money and health, smoking takes time away from your loved ones,” said Padgett. “It’s also not a good example for your children who learn the most from home.”

Not all smokers realize the full consequences of their decision to smoke.

“Children are especially susceptible to second-hand smoke,” said Padgett. “Exposure to the second-hand smoke can decrease lung function and increase the intensity of asthma conditions.”

Padgett added, that even if people don’t smoke around their children, cigarette smoke lingers on clothing, skin and in hair.

According to the educators, smokeless tobacco presents problems, too.

“Smokeless tobacco can be much more addictive at some levels,” said Leigh Colbert, registered nurse health educator. “It can also be harder to quit than smoking.”

Those ready to quit can find help with nicotine replacement therapy, that includes gum, patches and medicine, and two registered nurse educators at the Naval Health Clinic Quantico.

“Many want to quit, they just don’t know how to go about doing it,” said Colbert. “That’s the purpose of the programs: to formulate a strong quit plan.”

Padgett compares the journey to quit smoking with being deployed.

“It can be just like things you don’t want to do or are scared to do, like a deployment,” said Padgett. “You have to go. It’s not your first choice, but you go through it and come out the other side as a success. Pat yourself on the back and move on.”

For those who want to deter others from starting the habit, Padgett gives this advice: “Talk about it. Communicate. Point out the health benefits from not smoking.”

To get information on tobacco cessation, call 703-926-8430, or e-mail Patricia Padgett at

Correspondent: Pfc. Samuel Ellis

Marine Corps Base Quantico