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How Tobacco Use Affects Your Capabilities as a Marine

You’ve probably heard that tobacco is harmful to your health, but have you heard that tobacco can affect your capabilities as a Marine? Below are just a few things Marines may experience as a result of tobacco use:

  1. Impaired visual performance, dark adaption and night vision- Researchers have found that smokers have slower dark adaptation and lower visual acuity in dim lighting after smoking than nonsmokers.
  2. Hearing impairment- The risk of hearing loss strongly increases in smokers under 35 years old.
  3. Impaired vigilance and cognitive function- Nicotine withdrawal is associated with substantial decreases in vigilance and cognitive function.
  4. Impaired wound healing- Nicotine impairs skin flap survival and increases wound complications after surgical procedures by constricting blood vessels in the skin.
  5. Decreased stamina- Reductions of 5–10 percent in maximal aerobic power and endurance have been estimated in male smokers compared to nonsmokers.
  6. Impaired physical endurance and performance capacity- Smoking impairs strength and physical endurance by exposing the smoker to carbon monoxide, which reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood. Smoking also causes chronic pulmonary inflammation and impairs blood-vessel function, thus reducing the vascular dilation associated with physical activity.
  7. Higher rates of absenteeism and reduction in productivity- Numerous studies have documented that smokers in the military have higher numbers of days of work loss per year than nonsmokers as a result of illnesses.

Don’t let tobacco use affect your readiness. The Semper Fit Health Promotion Program is here to help you lead a healthier life by quitting tobacco. The Health Promotion team will guide you on your quit journey and can provide you with many resources and tools to quit. Click here to find a Health Promotion office near you.

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