Tobacco use provides stress relief, is a well-established notion in the military culture, reveals a new study.
However, Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health, suggests that other stress relievers, such as exercise or taking meditation breaks, could be more valuable and effective than smoking breaks and avoid the health risks of tobacco.
U.S. military tobacco use levels are high: 24 percent of military personnel are current smokers and 20 percent use smokeless tobacco.
Elizabeth Smith, an adjunct professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco has noted that studies of tobacco use for stress relief among soldiers have produced no evidence supporting the theory that tobacco use relieves stress.
Tobacco use threatens both the long-term health of enlisted personnel and their immediate readiness to perform, the authors observed, adding that tobacco's only real stress-relief component applies to relieving tension related to nicotine addiction.
The Institute of Medicine has recommended a ban on military tobacco use.
The study is published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.