USAFE institutes no-smoking policy in all services facilities

Master Sgt. Mona Ferrell
USAFE News Service

Three 435th Services Squadron facilities became completely smoke free Feb. 23 when the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Services instituted a new policy prohibiting smoking in all recreational areas within the command.

In the KMC, the no-smoking policy includes the slot rooms at the Ramstein Enlisted Club, Vogelweh Bowling Center and Sembach Combined Club, said Lt. Col. Ann Borgmann, 435th SVS commander.

“In USAFE we are continually advocating for a healthy and fit community,” said David Quinn, USAFE Services Programs chief. “No smoking has been the norm for the vast majority of services facilities and programs on our bases for years, and only a few installations retained very limited indoor smoking areas for entertainment game room areas.”

Troop health and morale are two important key factors influencing the implementation of this policy said, Lt. Col. Carol Fisher, USAFE Public Health officer and Health Promotions director.

“Closed smoking areas, such as game rooms, are a significant source of secondhand smoke which is a known human carcinogen,” said Colonel Fisher. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports each year an estimated 3,000 adult nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke die from lung cancer, and another 35,000 die from coronary heart disease. This new policy will afford everyone the opportunity to enjoy all recreational areas without worrying about exposure to harmful secondhand smoke.”

USAFE officials also hope the no-smoking policy will make people think twice before reaching for a cigarette, and they’re ready to help those who want to kick the habit.

“Besides reducing exposure of personnel to secondhand smoke, we also hope the policy may over time help alter smoking behavior,” said the colonel. “Our USAFE health and wellness centers are a great resource for individuals who want more information on the harmful effects of tobacco use or who want to quit smoking.”

Enjoying the benefits of all USAFE Services has to offer in a healthy environment is what this policy is all about, said Mr. Quinn.

“Our customers come first, and throughout USAFE there are a lot of new high-energy entertainment areas featuring state-of-the-art amusement machines and name and signature-brand restaurants,” he said. “We hope that our customers who do smoke find these features attractive and continue to let us serve them and enjoy this great benefit of military life.”