Defense Secretary says Soldiers Can Die in War… but Not from Cigarettes!

I’ve never understood how Americans can be such rational, intelligent people one second and such idiotic prudish neanderthals the next. One of my biggest frustrations has always come from our efforts to dictate the habits of our young men and women who enter the military. We allow them to join and fight at the age of 18, yet we won’t let them drink alcohol or rent a car? It makes no sense, that a citizen can fight and DIE for his country but at the same time his country can tell him he cannot enjoy a bit of alcohol.

Now the military is moving to become even more draconian. The Department of Defense is looking to push new anti-tobacco initiatives in an effort to get soldiers to stop smoking! You can die for your country… as long as it’s not from tobacco!

C’mon America! If they can fight and die for us, they can decide whether or not they want a beer and a pack of smokes.


 

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is looking into the possibility of raising tobacco prices on military bases and creating additional smoke-free areas in an effort to discourage use.

While defense spokeswoman Laura Seal told reporters there’s no clear indication exactly how high the new prices might be, one option being considered by the Defense Advisory Committee on Tobacco (DACT) is requiring tobacco prices to “match the average price” in civilian areas, Military Times reports.

smoking soldierMatching the price in civilian areas would serve to increase prices. It is not yet known when the DACT will pass along its list of recommendations to Carter, but the goal is increased tobacco control. Smoke-free areas may increase in size where second-hand smoke is a concern, namely in locations frequented by children.

The Air Force has already gone ahead and issued additional regulations in March banning tobacco in recreational facilities, like beaches, parks and basketball courts.

“In the Air Force, we’re committed to promoting tobacco-free living throughout. We’re not waiting for direction from DoD. We’ll continue to push forward,” said Air Force Col. John Oh, who also provided input to the DACT, according to Military Times.

The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed in December 2014 by Congress included language which made banning tobacco itself impossible. One of the arguments continually forwarded by military personnel in opposition to calls to ban tobacco is that because troops are sacrificing their lives to protect American freedom, they should not have any fewer liberties than regular civilians.

Language included in the NDAA represents a response to efforts by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to prohibit tobacco from Navy ships and bases. The DOD also floated the suggestion in a memo dated March 2014 of banning tobacco, although the memo did not suggest any concrete action, and legislators through NDAA made sure to put a stop to the idea. (RELATED: Tobacco Ban On Military Bases Doesn’t Pass Muster With Congress)

According to that memo, tobacco consumption results in $1.6 billion dollars of health costs for the military annually.

However, last year, the DOD did cave to anti-tobacco advocates by removing price discounts on tobacco in the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. And as experts suggest, higher prices entail lower rates of consumptions.

Smoking has already been banned in military workplaces for 20 years, and tobacco consumption is consistently trending downward.

 

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