UK National Smoking Cessation Conference - UKNSCC
2009 UK National Smoking Cessation Conference - London more...

Leaving the pack behind: a look at spontaneous quitting of smoking in the Canadian forces
Lynn Larabie, Physician, Ontario, Canada


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Lynn Larabie

The disturbing finding that smoking is on the increase in military personnel (Fiore, 2007) has escalated the importance of developing innovative smoking cessation programmers for Canadian servicemen and women. Many civilian smokers have been reported to quit spontaneously (Larabie, 2005, West & Shoal, 2006).

Is the smoking behaviour of military personnel the same as civilians? The question is critical because, if spontaneous quitting is also popular amongst soldiers, the style of quitting could suggest new treatment options previously unavailable to such a mobile, changing, unique population. Very little is known about how Canadian military personnel quit smoking. This paper aims to address this gap in knowledge by examining detailed smoking histories taken from smoking and ex-smoking military members.

Design: Face-to-face in depth semi-structured voluntary interviews.

Setting: Canadian Forces Base, 4-Wing Cold Lake, Alberta.

Participants: 123 smoking and ex-smoking military personnel were recruited by means of screening approximately 1,500 patients over a two-year span.

Measurements: The present study attempted to replicate the author’s 2005 study but with a military population in a military setting.

Results: 33% of quit attempts were unplanned. This figure was higher for ex-smokers (48% v 28%). Most quit attempts were unaided (52%), but many soldiers welcome the ‘right’ support to help them to leave their pack behind.


About the presenter
Lynn Larabie is a family physician who also works for the Canadian Forces as a flight surgeon, caring for pilots, air traffic controllers and all aircrew at the fighter airforce base in Cold Lake, Alberta


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