Pentagon Mulls Smoking Ban for Troops

Military smoking, especially common in combat, costly for VA
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2009 8:14 AM CDT
An Iraqi boy watches as a US soldier lights up a cigarette as members of his unit take a rest after a foot patrol in Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City.   (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic/FILE)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Pentagon health experts are pushing for the military to ban tobacco, a move that would upend a traditionally smoky culture, the USA Today reports. Tobacco use is rising among troops, many of whom turn to cigarettes to relieve combat zone stress, and that winds up costing the Pentagon and Veteran's Affairs a lot of money, finds one federal study. One in three servicemen smoke, compared to one in five Americans; combat vets are 50% more likely to smoke than those who haven't been deployed.

Pentagon health officials are proposing a phased-in ban over the next 20 years. A Pentagon spokesman says the DoD is committed to smoke-free military, but wouldn't comment on what would likely be an unpopular move in the trenches. The military currently subsidizes tobacco sales to troops.
(Read more Pentagon stories.)