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DOD officials promote 'World No Tobacco Day'

FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- For the first time, the Department of Defense is endorsing the observance of World No Tobacco Day by encouraging servicemembers to participate. 

The effort is part of DOD's multiyear tobacco cessation campaign, Quit Tobacco--Make Everyone Proud.

"On Memorial Day, when we reflect on the sacrifices our fallen heroes made so that we can live free, it seems that World No Tobacco Day comes at a perfect time," said Capt. David Arday, a physician and U.S. Public Health Service officer and chairman of the DOD Alcohol and Tobacco Advisory Committee.

"Freedom from tobacco addiction is not a sacrifice; it's a way to live our lives to honor those who gave us our freedom," he said. "This is a great opportunity for servicemen and women to connect to others on their installation, across the country and around the globe in a worldwide event to take a public stand and make a personal commitment in the fight against tobacco."

Health promotions staff members at installations are encouraging their patients and clients to sign the online pledge at and accept the challenge to become tobacco free on WNTD.

There are free promotional and informational items available to order or download online to help stage events, plus specially designed e-cards visitors can send to encourage friends and family to give up tobacco. Military personnel also can use the e-card to announce their intention to quit.

The campaign headquarters at offers the latest high-tech ways to connect with others on the road to becoming tobacco free. The site has launched a Twitter page at, and anyone who signs up can follow the site's activities and news, including tobacco and other related health information.

Visitors can take advantage of other social networking opportunities, such as being a friend at MySpace, tuning in to the videos and making comments at the YouTube page and becoming a fan of the campaign's Facebook page. On Facebook, there's a new feature that allows users to announce to others they've quit and to congratulate friends and family who've make the commitment to quit tobacco.

For those who want their own private area to concentrate on tobacco cessation, the campaign Web site offers users "My Quit Space," where they can create a customized quit plan and calendar. Blogging options include starting a private blog or publishing it for others to read and make comments.

The site has gone mobile, which is perfect for the enlisted community. Users can point their mobile browsers to, the new mobile ucanquit2 Web site, to find cessation programs across America to help them quit tobacco and access important tobacco cessation news.

Getting support from others is an important weapon in winning the battle against tobacco, which is recognized as an obstacle to optimal readiness and performance for the armed services.

"Committing to participate in World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2009, is a one-day test run for what could be the beginning of a tobacco-free lifestyle for servicemen and women," Captain Arday said.

Also visit Tricare's special Web page geared to quit tobacco efforts at