Tobacco-use policy fully implemented at Yokota
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- April 1, 2013, marks the day when tobacco-use will be limited only to designated tobacco-use areas and housing units for everyone at Yokota Air Base, Japan.
This policy is in direct alignment with Air Force Instruction 40-102, Tobacco Use in the Air Force, dated March 26, 2012.
"Though the AFI states full implementation isn't required until September, we want to be proactive in our approach and promote a healthy force early on. Also, we wanted to work with people's tendency to adopt a New Year's Resolution at the beginning of the year," said Maj. Stacy Van Orden, 374th Medical Group Health and Wellness Center Flight commander. "We have been addressing this issue for the past eight months and have phased the implementation in slowly to allow people to adjust to the changes."
All forms of tobacco are subject to the policy including: cigars, cigarettes, electronic-cigarettes, stem pipes, water pipes, hookahs and smokeless products that are chewed, dipped or sniffed.
The AFI also states tobacco-use is prohibited within 250 feet of base medical facilities and in all recreational areas. At Yokota, this includes all athletic fields, the Par 3 golf course and the base running track.
According to Van Orden, the policy implementation team placed DTAs in strategic locations to allow for tobacco-users to still have relatively easy access. Because of the stringent guidelines placed in the AFI and limited real estate at Yokota, 17 of the 23 approved DTAs required waivers from the base commander.
Locations of DTAs have been heavily advertised since January 1; however, a brochure has been created for those unfamiliar with the areas. Individuals can also contact their building facility manager to find out where the nearest DTA is located.
For those base residents interested in quitting tobacco there are a number of resources available on base. Yokota's Health and Wellness Center, 225-8322, offers tobacco-cessation classes. Primary care providers at the 374 MDG can also prescribe medicine to help ease the transition off tobacco, and the DoD-run website http://ucanquit2.com contains a wealth of other resources.