Predicting cigarette initiation and reinitiation among active duty United States Air Force recruits

Melissa A. Little, Jon O. Ebbert, Rebecca A. Krukowski, Jennifer P. Halbert, Ryan Kalpinski, Christi A. Patten, Tina L. Boothe, Christin K. Pasker, Robert C. Klesges, Gerald W. Talcott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The first year of military service in the United States Air Force (USAF) is a high-risk time for tobacco use. Previous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of a tobacco ban during Basic Military Training (BMT). However, no studies have examined the effect of increasing the protracted ban for an additional 4 weeks. Understanding the patterns of initiation and reinitiation following the protracted ban will inform future intervention and policy efforts. Methods: The current study examines patterns of cigarette smoking among a sample of 2188 USAF personnel at baseline and after their first year of service. Results: One year after BMT, we observed that 65.0% of USAF enlistees remained never smokers, 9.6% remained abstinence from cigarettes, 9.3% initiated cigarette smoking, and 16.1% reinitiated cigarette smoking. Despite the extended tobacco ban in BMT and Technical Training, 12.6% of individual who never smoked initiated cigarette smoking and 62.6% of individuals who formerly smoked reinitiated. Over half (54.2%) of Airmen who reported smoking cigarettes at follow-up reported initiating or reinitiating during Technical Training. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that although the increased ban prevents additional individuals who smoked cigarettes prior to joining the Air Force from reinitiating, it has no effect on initiation among individuals who report never using prior to military service. Additional research is needed to understand what may be leading to these high rates of initiation and reinitiation in Technical Training following the ban.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-343
Number of pages4
JournalSubstance Abuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2019


  • Military personnel
  • prevention
  • smoking
  • tobacco use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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