July 20, 2010:
A year ago, U.S. Department of Defense medical officials turned in a study concluding that the use of tobacco products by military personnel was unhealthy, and should be eliminated. This would lower medical costs and illnesses among the troops. The suggested plan was to ban smoking just about everywhere in the military, and demand that new troops have a "no smoking" clause added to their contracts. Thus, in 20 years, the armed forces would be tobacco free. Currently, about a third of military personnel use tobacco products (mainly cigarettes), compared to only about 20 percent of civilians. But over half of combat troops use tobacco.
When troops in the combat zone heard of the proposed ban, there was an uproar. There is no booze or sex allowed in the combat zone. Coffee and tobacco are among the few sources of comfort and calm out there. Department of Defense brass consulted subordinate commanders about the ban, who reported that the distress (over losing their smokes) was real. So the Department of Defense has put the medical bureaucrats on hold until the wars are over, and tobacco can be safely banned. At least until the next war.