Do Military Service Members and Student Veterans Use More Tobacco?
This study explored tobacco use in a national sample of service member and veteran students enrolled in post-secondary institutions with the purpose of informing the development of a tobacco cessation initiative by identifying factors associated with the use of cigarettes, water pipes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco.
Researchers conducted a secondary analysis of data from the fall 2011 National College Health Assessment (NCHA) II, which surveyed 44 postsecondary institutions in the United States with a population sample size of more than 27,000.
Three percent of the sample reported they were currently in the United States Armed Services active military or veteran status. Of the service member and veteran respondents, 41 percent reported that they used some form of tobacco within the last 30 days. Tobacco use was related to stressors and mental health symptoms, and correlated with suicidality in the study sample.
Further research is recommended to inform culturally competent programming. The great majority of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which has increased the number of student veterans on campuses in all disciplines.
These funded students undertake studies with higher rates of physical injury, chronic pain, depression and stress injury than their classmates. Related to these issues are problematic health behaviors such as the overuse of tobacco products. Tobacco use contributes to decreased quality of both mental and physical health.
In general, health behaviors among student veterans are understudied, particularly among those who smoke.
Read the full findings of the study here: https://jmvh.org/article/tobacco-use-in-a-national-sample-of-united-states-service-member-and-veteran-students.