Ban on tobacco urged in military

jonjuan

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http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2009-07-09-smoking_N.htm

By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Pentagon health experts are urging Defense Secretary Robert Gates to ban the use of tobacco by troops and end its sale on military property, a change that could dramatically alter a culture intertwined with smoking.
Jack Smith, head of the Pentagon's office of clinical and program policy, says he will recommend that Gates adopt proposals by a federal study that cites rising tobacco use and higher costs for the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs as reasons for the ban.

The study by the Institute of Medicine, requested by the VA and Pentagon, calls for a phased-in ban over a period of years, perhaps up to 20. "We'll certainly be taking that recommendation forward," Smith says.

A tobacco ban would confront a military culture, the report says, in which "the image of the battle-weary soldier in fatigues and helmet, fighting for his country, has frequently included his lit cigarette."

Also, the report said, troops worn out by repeated deployments often rely on cigarettes as a "stress reliever." The study found that tobacco use in the military increased after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.

FIND MORE STORIES IN: Barack Obama | Robert Gates | Institute of Medicine | Kenneth Kizer
Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said the department supports a smoke-free military "and believes it is achievable." She declined to elaborate on any possible ban.

One in three servicemembers use tobacco, the report says, compared with one in five adult Americans. The heaviest smokers are soldiers and Marines, who have done most of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the study says. About 37% of soldiers use tobacco and 36% of Marines. Combat veterans are 50% more likely to use tobacco than troops who haven't seen combat.

Tobacco use costs the Pentagon $846 million a year in medical care and lost productivity, says the report, which used older data. The Department of Veterans Affairs spends up to $6 billion in treatments for tobacco-related illnesses, says the study, which was released late last month.

Along with a phased-in ban, the report recommends requiring new officers and enlisted personnel to be tobacco-free, eliminating tobacco use on military installations, ships and aircraft, expanding treatment programs and eliminating the sale of tobacco on military property. "Any tobacco use while in uniform should be prohibited," the study says.

The military complicates attempts to curb tobacco use by subsidizing tobacco products for troops who buy them at base exchanges and commissaries, says Kenneth Kizer, a committee member and architect of California's anti-tobacco program.

Seventy percent of profits from tobacco sales — $88 million in 2005 — pays for recreation and family support programs, the study stays.

Strong leadership could make the military tobacco-free in five to 10 years, Kizer says. President Obama, he says, could set an example for the military by ending his own smoking habit once and for all. Last month, Obama said he is "95% cured" but "there are times when I mess up" and smoke.
 

SIG600

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You try and pull tobacco out of the military, and you'll have a mutiny.
 

waka

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This is right on! If my taxes go to your health benefits, then you should be accountable if you use tobacco. Great idea!

(this is not sarcasm)
 
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Phrogs4ever

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They're just trying to make a point

This has about as much a chance of passing as banning E-4s and below from getting married. Banning alcohol and/or motorcycles would have a far greater impact on mission status, but we can't ban servicemembers from enjoying life and expect them to sacrifice theirs.
 

Phrogs4ever

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Bad taste

This is right on! If my taxes go to your health benefits, then you should be accountable if you use tobacco. Great idea!

(this is not sarcasm)
I think the American tax paying citizen is getting their money's worth out of the servicemembers.
 

727C47

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no dip in the infantry,good luck with that !!!!
 

waka

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I think the American tax paying citizen is getting their money's worth out of the servicemembers.
That depends. If you're talking about a deployment like Iraq, B.S.. If you're talking about the military's simple existence, then yes.

Anyway, whatever the "value", the fact remains. There is nothing wrong with reducing waste and being in the military is not carte blanch to do whatever one wants at the taxpayer's expense.
 

waka

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This has about as much a chance of passing as banning E-4s and below from getting married. Banning alcohol and/or motorcycles would have a far greater impact on mission status, but we can't ban servicemembers from enjoying life and expect them to sacrifice theirs.
A.Tobacco is short term enjoyment. In the long term, it isn't even a question of soldiers "enjoying life":rolleyes: by using tobacco. Using your logic, why not let them enjoy heroin....you know, since they sacrifice their lives and all.
 

Phrogs4ever

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My logic had nothing to do with illegal drugs, did it? Simply enjoying the freedoms that most of us take for granted. You remember; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I will disengage now before someone confuses which one of us us the fool.
 

Andy Neill

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You try and pull tobacco out of the military, and you'll have a mutiny.
During my years in the military, I have seen the cigarettes disappear from C-Rations. I have seen smoking banned in military aircraft and vehicles. I have seen fewer officers using tobacco. At one point in my mid career, I was the only pilot in the platoon who didn't smoke. I would get mission briefings from a map on the floor though a cloud of tobacco smoke. Years later in that same platoon, not a single smoker among the pilots.

Look at the movies [which may or may not be a relfection of our society] of the 30s and 40s vs modern movies. Allright........ so you will see more illegal drug use but much less cigarette smoking now.

http://www.michigandaily.com/content/smoking-linked-low-iq
Although this study points to smoking diminishing one's IQ, I think a larger correlation is present with smoking as an indicator of lower IQ. I'm talking averages and not you specifically Mr. High IQ smoker.
 

Dizel8

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Huh?
I guess we need to ban them from using alcohol as well!
 

SIG600

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A.Tobacco is short term enjoyment. In the long term, it isn't even a question of soldiers "enjoying life":rolleyes: by using tobacco. Using your logic, why not let them enjoy heroin....you know, since they sacrifice their lives and all.
When you're headed down the driveway after 7+ hours of close air support over the Himalayas, you can talk. I have no problem with guys throwing a dip in, or a soldier lighting up after several hours of being shot at. We pay taxes, same as you. Don't give me that crap.
 

pilotyip

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This to be followed by mandatory tobacco use random tests. E-5 and below found smoking, one more chance before being kicked out. E-6 and above immediate separation upon testing positive in tobacco use test. Ah! The good ole days when you could buy a carton of cigs for $1.00 once your ship pulled into international waters.
 

Pervis

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My logic had nothing to do with illegal drugs, did it? Simply enjoying the freedoms that most of us take for granted. You remember; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I will disengage now before someone confuses which one of us us the fool.
No worries. He's proven who the fool is on several forums.
 

transpac

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I'm a non-smoker. But, I'm not buying the theory that banning smoking in the military will have a major effect on military medical costs. Except for the very few that stay 30+ years, military members are happy civilians long before the health effects of smoking start costing big money. Maybe retiree medical care and the VA will see some health care savings resulting from a military smoking ban, but I doubt that the active military will see any health care savings.
 

waka

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When you're headed down the driveway after 7+ hours of close air support over the Himalayas, you can talk.
No. I pay my taxes and vote. I can talk.
 

waka

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My logic had nothing to do with illegal drugs, did it? Simply enjoying the freedoms that most of us take for granted.
No, but the analogy of illegal drugs to health stands.

You remember; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I will disengage now before someone confuses which one of us us the fool.
As for illegal drugs, you can't say this and then be against legalization at the same time. However, that is another thread.
 
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