US military 'should ban smoking'

By Rightnow289 · Jul 11, 2009 · ·
  1. Rightnow289
    The US military should be smoke-free within the next 20 years, says a government-commissioned report.

    The Institute of Medicine (IOM) said 30% of army personnel are smokers, leading to "very high" economic and health costs.
    But it acknowledged that the change could be hard to introduce, as smoking has "long been associated with the image of a tough, fearless warrior".
    The Pentagon has said it supports the idea and believes it is "achievable".
    The report, commissioned by the Pentagon and the US Veterans' Administration (VA), says the US Defense Department spends more than $1.6bn (£1bn) every year on tobacco-related medical care, hospital treatment and lost days of work.
    It said that rates of tobacco smoking in the military have increased since 1998, and may be as high as 50% among service personnel returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Soldiers who smoked were less fit, had worse night vision, and recovered more slowly from wounds.
    "These troops are essentially putting their lives at risk twice: once in service to their country and once in service to tobacco," said Stuart Bondurant, chair of the report committee.
    "Tobacco is a long term engagement - it kills slowly and insidiously."


    The report said the armed services already "acknowledge that tobacco use impairs the readiness of military personnel and results in enormous health and financial costs".
    But it criticised them for allowing smoking on military sites, giving less attention to tobacco use than alcohol abuse and for selling tobacco products to troops at reduced prices.
    A spokesperson for the Pentagon said the department was in full support of the goal of a tobacco-free military.
    Cynthia Smith told the AFP news agency that the goal was "achievable through the development and execution of a comprehensive plan as recommended by the IOM report".
    "We look forward to using the committee's findings and recommendations as we address this challenging health and readiness issue," she said.

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  1. Coconut
    I have a better idea: how do you save thousands of human lives and trillions of dollars per year?


    Abolish the military.

    But no, they're going to ban smoking from an organisation of hired killers. I'm glad Obama's dark council of elders has its priorities in order.
  2. EscapeDummy
    Because what could go wrong with being the only country in the world without a military?

    And 'hired killers' is kind of harsh. I know kids who seriously have nothing in their lives to support them, and the military is their last (and only) resort for any kind of future. I never understood those who hold animosity towards the soldiers themselves (not necessarily saying you are doing that, though).
  3. Rightnow289
    I do have a slight problem with soldiers. I personally know a few and they aren't really too intelligent so maybe that is why they don't take much exception to killing people. They kill people including civilians because they were 'following orders' Any soldier that kills a civilian should be charged with murder like they are at home. When you join the army you make a conscious decision to kill another human being. Saying its the last resort is a copout. Working in a shop or other manual work requires the same amount of brainpower.

    I would fight if the cause was a good one (like second world war) but Afghanistan and Iraq are not and I can't honestly see why they are still fighting over there. They should just come home. Gordon Brown said today we have to stay there because otherwise they will come and attack britain. What they going to do stay there forever?
  4. Coconut
    The "we'll disarm if you disarm first" argument. I love that one because it's so nonsensical.

    Trying to defend it with emotional attachment to children is also illogical. They wouldn't need to be forced into the US military if the US would spend the defence budget on meaningful, worthwhile things to help their own people, although I feel I may be wandering into the Naive Realm here.

    The definition of a solder is a hired killer. I don't care if it's harsh, it's the cold truth. Military forces have one purpose: to destroy land and life. People try to justify it as being needed for defence. If all the armies of the world are for defence, who are they defending from?

    Probably. It's not called the "long war" for nothing.
  5. EscapeDummy

    Dont think for a second that I don't wholeheartedly agree with that. Stories of civilian bombings, killings, and atrocities like the My Lai massacre committed by our troops make me sick to my stomach and I hope that those soldiers pay for their crimes; there is no justification for that. I also disagree with our reasons for going to the war, and wish for us to leave. It's what a lot of Americans want, and it's most certainly what many Iraqis and Afghanistanis want. I completely hate the Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary, and the twisted way that our government uses a modern re-interpretation of it to police the world for mostly corporate interests. I generally do not support war, even as a means to an end. Still, though, I see soldiers as the "symptom" of the "sickness", if you will, and direct most of my anger towards the root cause, which I believe to be our government.

    It's also equally a copout to assume, however, that all soldiers are the same, and they're all horrible people who just couldn't wait to sign up to put a bullet in some poor farmer's head. Are there soldiers who joined just for the sick thrill of killing real people? Most certainly. But they aren't the majority, and shouldn't be generalized to that. There are resepectable, honorable people, and evil, vile people everywhere. And again, I believe troops should most certainly be held accountable for any civilian deaths.

    I believe the definition of a mercenary is a hired killer, not a soldier. Either way, that's just delving into a semantics argument. Also, I wasn't giving emotional attachment to children, necessarily; when I said "kids" I mostly meant individuals I know around my own age (18-25ish). We just passed a law pumping $500 billion or so into the military in Afghanistan. I agree 100% that every last penny of that half trillion dollars would be far better spent domestically on, as you said, meaningful, worthwhile things. I just don't think that will ever happen.

    Also, if you looked at the way America and the other western powers royally, massively fucked up the Middle East, much of Asia, South America, and Africa, (essentially the rest of the world) it's quite understandable to see why (those countries) need armies.
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