WASHINGTON (CNN) — You’ve seen the iconic picture of a soldier with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, but that could soon be a thing of the past. A new study commissioned by the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs recommends a complete ban on tobacco, which would end tobacco sales on military bases and prohibit smoking by anyone in uniform, not even combat troops in the thick of battle.

According to the study, tobacco use impairs military readiness in the short term. Over the long term, it can cause serious health problems, including lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. The study also says smokeless tobacco use can lead to oral and pancreatic cancer. The Defense Department’s top health officials are studying the report’s suggestions and will make recommendations to the Pentagon’s policy team and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The study recommends phasing out tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars over a five- to 10-year period.

However, the suggested ban does not sit well with many in uniform, including retired Gen. Russel Honore, best known for coordinating military relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina-affected areas with an ever-present stogie. He said soldiers at war need to puff. “When you’re tired and you’ve been going days on end with minimum sleep, and you are not getting the proper meals on time, that hit of tobacco can make a difference,” said Honore, who was in charge of the Army’s training programs before he retired. Other soldiers questioned whether this was a good time to stamp out smoking, given the Army’s concern with a high suicide rate.

They needed a study for this? Really?

  1. Holdfast says:

    It will be interesting whether this is allowed to happen. I always felt that US military personnel were much more caught up in the civilian marketplace than we (UK) are.

    But I could be biased!

  2. jim says:

    These guy’s signed up to go into the meat grinder the last thing there worried about is getting cancer. What a waste of your tax dollars, going to fund this stupid study.

  3. richard cranium says:

    Us taxpayers do pay for their long term healthcare. My father 88 years young and a lifetime smoker goes to the VA clinic twice a year. Left the service in 1946…

  4. Jägermeister says:

    “When you’re tired and you’ve been going days on end with minimum sleep, and you are not getting the proper meals on time, that hit of tobacco can make a difference,” said Honore”

    No worries… the military got drugs for every problem. Now, quit smoking.

  5. sargasso says:

    Next it’s nylons and Hershey bars.

  6. jim says:

    #3 You would have denied your father and his buddy’s a smoke after heavy combat? Paying for their healthcare is the least you as a tax payer could do for them.

  7. Thomas says:

    Actually, I can see the need for the study. The question is whether the effects of smoking have an effect within the average length of a soldier’s career in the military. If someone is shooting at you, you can see how the long term effects of smoking would seem pedantic.

  8. Jägermeister says:

    #5 – sargasso – Next it’s nylons…

    No, don’t take the nylons away from the soldiers

  9. Lou says:

    I thought the USA had 2 wars to fight. Have they been won and there is nothing to do now ?
    I must have missed the memo.

  10. TooManyPuppies says:

    Sorry, not a chance in hell I would have been deployed without smokes. I knew a few guys that instead of smoking they’d excessively use dip or nicotine gum, if they ran out they’d hit the smokes.

    However unlike most of the guys I’ve deployed with, the first thing I did after getting home was buy Nicoderm and kicked the smokes.

  11. primusreference says:

    1 in 3 military smoke, you’re going to seriously piss off 1 in 3 of every single military personnel?

    I love how they throw in that they’ll have to curtail civilian use along with military, it’s just another way try to police us with policy.

  12. MikeN says:

    #3, smoking reduces health care costs.

  13. wightout says:

    1 in 3? Really thats it? I can tell you it is a lot more in my unit. I think I am one of 4 or 5 that dont use tobacco products on a regular basis (I dont consider a stogie once every few months to make me a smoker).

    Might as well try and take away alcohol from us… good luck.

  14. Jägermeister says:

    #12 – MikeN

    What research and reports do you base this on?

  15. allstar says:

    The Obamanation just gave 63 Billion dollars to Ghana and the cost cutting is directed toward the healthcare of soldiers who smoke?

    Typical democrat bull$h*t.

  16. Jägermeister says:

    #15 – allstar

    Facts are hard… The money is for ALL of Africa. That’s a very cheap way to build up relations that Bush managed to fuck up during his eight years at the rudder. The US needs Africa, not just for natural resources, but in order to fight terrorism. I’m sure all this flies high above your level of comprehension.

  17. LibertyLover says:

    If they do this, then all government employees should be required to quit (that includes Senators, Congressman, Judges, Presidents, etc.).

    It’s only fair.

  18. AdmFubar says:

    but ion the military you can get a deadly case of lead poisoning. will they be eliminating all the lead in war???

  19. allstar says:


    The money could be for Ghana, All of Africa or Mars – the bottom line is there are US cities one step away from financial ruin and even you should be able to conclude that $63 billion would be better wasted here than wasted in Africa.

  20. clancys_daddy says:

    “That’s a very cheap way to build up relations that Bush managed to fuck up during his eight years at the rudder.” Africa was a mess long before GWB or clinton or bush senior or reagan or carter, or ford etc. Spending essentially a pittance on all of africa to restore goodwill is like spending 20 bucks on a hooker and expecting love. On the issue of smoking when you sign on the line you make your body govt. property you do what you are told when you are told. Personally I find the idea of banning smoking right up there with banning gays from serving, or women from combat positions. I don’t give a damn what the guy/girl/fruit next to me does on their time as long as they shoot straight when they have to.

  21. Jägermeister says:

    #20 – allstar

    Did you miss the stimulus package? You remember, that package that all republicans hated so much…

    The US needs friends. And then I’m not talking about warmongering friends, like Great Britain, but friends who are willing to stomp out terrorists on their territory, share information, trade, etc. Terrorism can never be won solely with military force… you need to win the hearts and minds of the terrorists’ power base. The US and Europe has losing influence in Africa. It’s not for nothing that China has made inroads.

  22. Sea Lawyer says:

    #14, “What research and reports do you base this on?”

    Here you go, Jägerbomb.

  23. Jägermeister says:

    #21 – clancys_daddy

    I’m sure the $63B is just the start. I’m sure it will spur trade.

  24. allstar says:

    #22-Jägermeister=you need to win the hearts and minds of the terrorists’ power base.

    ??? OK, you have truly lost your mind. You are one sick puppy. Allies are that because of a common goal not because you pay them off – dumbass.

  25. Jägermeister says:

    #23 – Sea Monster

    Thanks. Now, weigh in productivity loss. Smokers tend to entitle themselves to a ten minute smoke break every hour, but they’re not making up for that time. That’s about an hour of lost productivity per day. That’s something like 30 days of lost productivity per year. I’ll let you do the rest of the math…

  26. Jägermeister says:

    #25 – allstar ???

    I know… This is way too complicated for your Fox News fed brain.

  27. Sea Lawyer says:

    #26, Which has nothing to do with the subject of healthcare costs and smoking cessation. Good job, rock star.

  28. Jägermeister says:

    #28 – Sea Lawyer

    Smokers costs the health care system more while they’re alive. Non-smokers has already paid for their health care costs when they’re old (after all, they were more productive).

  29. DA says:

    Pentagon Study: U.S. Foreign policy is Hazardous to Soldiers Health.

    “According to the study, U.S. Foreign policy causes countless unintended consequences known as blowback; resulting in unnecessary and costly wars that can cause serious health problems for soldiers, including but not limited to loss of limbs, loss of bodily functions and death. The study also suggests that U.S. foreign policy puts the general population of the United States at increased risk. The study recommends phasing out the interventionist foreign policy and replacing it with a policy more in line with the foreign policy recommended by the founding fathers.”

    If only…


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