This application is in response to PA-11-260 "Research Project Grant (Parent R01)". This project is a revision/extension of grant 5R01DA036507-09: Barriers to Effective Tobacco Control Policy Implementation in the US Military. Use of tobacco products by military personnel negatively impacts combat readiness in the short term and military healthcare costs in the long term. Despite this, tobacco use has consistently been identified as "part of the military culture". Our previous work found military retail tobacco product pricing and availability to be among the most important factors underlying the perception of a tobacco-friendly environment in the military. The perception by personnel that tobacco is cheap and readily available on installations persists despite military policy specifically designed to eliminate price as an incentive for use. Economic analyses of tobacco sales in military retail conducted by our team have demonstrated that tobacco products are sold at considerable discounts compared to prices in the civilian market, despite policies to the contrary. In addition, we documented that over a two-year period from 2011 to 2013, many installations actually reduced tobacco prices. Unfortunately, no research to date has determined the reasons military tobacco policies have failed to eliminate price as an incentive for use. In ths study, we will collect internal tobacco pricing and marketing documents from military retail outlets on every continental U.S. (CONUS) installation (including Alaska and Hawaii) to determine the methods used to undermine current policy and incentivize the use of these deadly products. Military health policy leaders from each service also will be interviewed to assess their knowledge, perceptions, and beliefs about the implementation of military pricing policy to determine how policy is interpreted by leaders responsible for promoting the health and combat readiness of troops, as well as the impact of prices on the tobacco culture of the military. Unique benefits of this study include an internationally renowned, multi-disciplinary research team with extensive experience in military tobacco control, unusual access to military leadership, and an innovative program of research which flows naturally from our current R01. This application has a high likelihood of resulting in data which will influence directly the development and implementation of effective policies related to tobacco products in the military.
Statement High rates of tobacco use by military personnel negatively impacts combat readiness in the short term and military healthcare costs in the long term. This innovative research will address tobacco marketing and pricing in military retail outlets, a key factor associated with misperceptions about tobacco and its acceptance as part of the military culture. Data provided by this study will enable development of more effective military tobacco control policy.
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