Since tobacco use is both a readiness and a health issue, it is important to provide effective interventions to become Tobacco Free. Tobacco-Free Living benefits the military community as a whole because tobacco-free individuals are stronger, healthier, and better able to perform their mission and responsibilities. Being tobacco-free also benefits each person by giving them an opportunity to maintain a healthier lifestyle and decrease the health risks associated with tobacco use. Tobacco-Free Living initiatives implemented across the enterprise support a tobacco-free community and promote the health and personal readiness of military personnel, family members, retirees, employees, and patients/patrons on MEDCOM campuses.
In recognition of the long-term harm caused by early
onset tobacco use, legislation was signed in December 2019
amending the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raising the federal minimum
age for sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. This legislation, known
as Tobacco 21 or T21, makes it unlawful for any retailer to sell tobacco
products — including cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookah tobacco, cigars,
pipe tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery systems including e-cigarettes and
e-liquids to any person younger than 21 years of age, with no military exemption. The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense policy makes it unlawful for any retail outlet on DoD
installations and facilities within the U.S. and its territories and possessions,
and on U.S. naval vessels at a U.S. port, to sell tobacco products, effective on 1
August 2020. The directive requires retail outlets to post signs no later than 1
July 2020 to inform patrons of this policy change, and to stock "sufficient quantities of tobacco
cessation products," such as nicotine gum and lozenges designed to help
smokers curb their cravings.
Army regulation calls for the full cooperation of all commanders, supervisors, Soldiers, Army Civilians, Family members, and patrons to ensure people are protected from the harmful effects of tobacco products. The Army Surgeon General's role through MEDCOM TFL OPORD 15-48 directs MEDCOM tobacco-free medical campuses and promotes Tobacco Free Living workforces to create irreversible momentum to transform Army culture from tobacco permissive to tobacco free.
OPORD 15-48 , MEDCOM Tobacco Free Living (CAC required)
Learn more about how to be tobacco free in these Tobacco-Free Living Toolkit web pages.
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) refers to all types of personal vaporizers, Juuls, vape pens, and vape mods. They can contain just as much or even more nicotine than tobacco cigarettes. E-cigarette cartridges (e-liquids) or oils may also contain harmful products and are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a smoking-cessation aid.