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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

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Reminder: Smokeless tobacco use not welcome inside base buildings

By Marti Gatlin, Public Affairs Specialist | | October 14, 2010

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany officials want to remind the installation community that smokeless tobacco use is prohibited in Marine Corps-controlled facilities.

Base Order 5100.17B, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, outlines the rule. According to it, tobacco use refers to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, spit, plug, leaf, snuff, dip and chew.

Prohibiting smokeless tobacco use in Marine Corps buildings except individual family housing units reflects Secretary of the Navy Instruction 5100.13E Navy and Marine Corps Tobacco Policy, dated July 31, 2008.

According to SECNAVINST 5100.13E, tobacco use is not authorized in any Department of the Navy facility — any interior space owned, leased or controlled by DON, including any Navy or Marine Corps space, building, facility, floating unit, aircraft or vehicle.

The base order, dated Nov. 16, 2009, provides the following stipulations. Tobacco products, including the smokeless tobacco listed above, will only be used in designated areas. Tobacco spit and residue will be placed in containers with sealing lids to prevent odor and accidental spills, and disposed of in a sanitary manner, which prevents public exposure.

Tobacco use is prohibited during time authorized for physical fitness, conditioning and training.

Sgt. Dustin Williams, Base S-3, MCLB Albany, has been dipping for six years.

When he became aware of the regulation, he quit dipping indoors and has educated two other Marines here about it. If he has something to do outside, he’ll put one in. He’s dipping a lot less, which is better for his health, Williams said.

“The Marines here are really good about following the rules,” the 26-year-old said.

Sgt. Maj. Stephen Thomas, base sergeant major, MCLB Albany, said he will make sure the base community knows about the requirement.

“You should always inform the individual first that it is illegal to use smokeless tobacco in federal buildings, and give him/her the opportunity to correct it; cite the base or Department of Defense order if you know it,” he said. “Problems with enforcement can always be reported to the chain of command, the base inspector general or the base sergeant major.”

Thomas, the DOD, Navy and Marine Corps orders, cite the ill affects smokeless tobacco can cause users.

“(Health) problems can prevent Marines and civilian-Marines from deploying or even doing their jobs, which directly affects unit and mission readiness, so annual dental exams and cleanings should not be ignored by anyone,” he said.

Brenda Ray, Health and Prevention coordinator, Marine and Family Services, Marine Corps Community Services, MCLB Albany, educates the installation population through tobacco cessation classes about smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes known as e-cigarettes.

“Tobacco cessation classes are offered through Semper Fit Health Promotion and through the Naval Clinic’s Heath Promotion Program,” she said. “The two programs work together. A tobacco cessation class is offered for those who are interested in quitting. They commit to the eight-week Freedom from Smoking Program. The program can also be done individually.”

Ray listed cancers, possible high blood pressure problems and increased heart disease risks as unhealthy side affects of using smokeless tobacco. She referenced the American Cancer Society’s Web site, www.cancer.org, as a source of the information.

The most harmful cancer-causing substances in spit tobacco are tobacco-specific nitrosamines, which have been found at levels 100 times higher than the nitrosamines that are allowed in bacon and other foods, Ray said.

Smokeless tobacco juices are absorbed directly through the lining of the mouth. This causes sores and white patches and often leads to mouth cancer, she said.

E-cigarettes are metallic tubes filled with vaporized liquid nicotine and are unhealthy, Ray said. While the devices mimic the look and feel of traditional cigarettes, they don’t contain tobacco or produce smoke.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, e-cigarettes contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals.

Civilian-Marines must also follow the procedure for using tobacco products and can use tobacco products only during designated break times, said Katrina Stanfill, Labor/Employee Relations Specialist, Civilian Human Resources Office Southeast.

If employees are caught breaking these, progressive discipline will be applied in accordance with the Civilian Personnel Manual, BO12000.6A, and the negotiated Master Labor Agreement between the Marine Corps and the American Federation of Government Employees, she said.

Any questions or concerns about civilian-Marines using smokeless tobacco in federal buildings and/or outside of the designated break periods may be addressed to the Labor/Employee Relations office at 639-5255.

For more information or for help in quitting, call Patty Underdahl, health and wellness trainer, Navy Branch Medical Clinic, at (229) 639-7884 or Ray at (229) 639-7935 or visit www.ucanquit2.org.