Smoking control: Factors which influence tobacco use among junior enlisted personnel in the United States army and air force: A formative research study

C. Keith Haddock, Jennifer E. Taylor, Kevin M. Hoffman, Walker S.C. Poston, Alan Peterson, Harry A. Lando, Suzanne Shelton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations


Background. Despite the implementation of a host of tobacco control initiatives, tobacco use among active duty members of the U.S. Military remains high. It has been suggested that a positive culture of tobacco, which drives consumption, exists in the military. However, little is know about factors that impact tobacco use among military personnel. Objective. This study provides the first formative data on the culture of tobacco in the U.S. Military. Methods. A total of 15 focus groups on six military installations were conducted (n = 189). These military installations were located throughout the continental United States and were of average size for each service. Results. Participants suggested that the primary method the military uses to discourage use is tobacco bans. Unfortunately, they also believed that the military accommodates tobacco use so that smoking remains convenient despite the bans on tobacco use. Smoking was believed to be encouraged through liberal smoking breaks, social interaction within designated smoking areas, and cheap and convenient tobacco products sold on military installations. Additionally, smoking was seen as an effective method to combat the stress and boredom of military life and to avoid weight gain. Conclusions. Suggestions for addressing the culture of tobacco are suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-246
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009



  • Military personnel
  • Qualitative research
  • Risk factors. Manuscript format: Research; research purpose: Descriptive; study design: Qualitative; outcome measures: Participant response; setting: Military; health focus: Smoking
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this