Gates Refuses to Ban Smoking in War Zones
Defense secretary rejects Pentagon study's recommendation
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2009 1:49 AM CDT
US Army Spc. Seth Cotrell, right, and Staff Sgt. Scott Malecki take a smoke break after a raid on an al-Qaeda cell in Iraq,   (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
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(Newser) – American troops in war zones won't have to battle the enemy while suffering nicotine withdrawal, CNN reports. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is willing to consider some of the recommendations in a Pentagon-commissioned report calling for a totally tobacco-free military, but he has no intention of ordering stressed-out troops in combat zones to go without their smokes.

"We are fighting two wars right now, using a force that we are demanding more of than we ever have before," said a spokesman for Gates. "They are under enormous stress and strain. The secretary does not want to compound that stress by taking away from them one of the few outlets they have to relieve that stress."