Local News

Soldiers fume over proposed smoking ban

Posted July 13, 2009

— Some soldiers balked Monday at the possibility of a ban on tobacco use on U.S. military posts and by anyone in uniform, including combat troops.

A Pentagon study proposed the move based on a Department of Defense report that determined smoking hurts military personnel by reducing physical fitness and causing a host of health problems that cost the military nearly $846 million a year in medical care.

Bugler tobacco, military smoking Pentagon seeks to stop troops from smoking

Some soldiers said they don't like the orders they might be required to follow under the proposed ban.

"It's not their choice to tell me what I can do as long as I'm doing what I need to do in my uniform," Army Sgt. Eric Johnson said. "I can make my own decisions. We can drink; we can smoke."

"There would be a lot of upset people, all the way from lower to the higher-ups, I'd say," Army Spc. Daniel Simpson said. "Soldiers, some of them, they just need that cigarette. They just need a little bit of relaxation, a little time alone."

A ban, which would have to be approved by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, said would be phased in over five to 10 years.

Diana Deering, whose husband served in the Army before retiring, called the idea "heavy-handed."

"In a combat zone, if they haven't been over there and (don't) know what it's like, they don't have any right to tell (soldiers) what they can and cannot do," Deering said.

One in three service members uses tobacco, compared to one in five civilians. Fayetteville resident Chad Clabo said he plans to enlist and would be willing to kick the habit.

"I smoke, and I can't run when I smoke," Clabo said.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • dsa1007 Jul 14, 2009

    Stand and unite against too much government in our lives...this is still the USA and we are still free to make "some" personal choices....Politicians really need to get their priorities straight....hmmm...the country is going down the tubes, but let's make sure people stop smoking so there are even more of us to split social security benefits in the future....like my drill sargeant use to say...!!!!SMOKE Em If You Got Em Privates!!!!!!!!

  • merrywidow Jul 14, 2009

    I'm fuming for the soldiers too and I don't even smoke!!!

  • Professor Jul 14, 2009

    Who do you want protecting your country if they cannot smoke or drink beer? You cannot.

  • Professor Jul 14, 2009

    No smoking - No protecting America!!!

  • Professor Jul 14, 2009

    They will smoke regardless.

  • Professor Jul 14, 2009

    I think there should be a law against gossiping and judging people.

  • jmlord592 Jul 14, 2009

    I'm all for encouraging people to quit smoking, but this is just ridiculous and goes way too far. They should make smoking cessation treatments available to those who want them, but telling a soldier they can't smoke while in uniform or on a military installation is absurd.

  • Professor Jul 14, 2009


  • Professor Jul 14, 2009

    Oh...and only the gov't would tell an armed man he can't smoke.

    Keep that up and there will be no one to fight our wars in the foreign countries. You would not want that, would you?

  • Professor Jul 14, 2009

    Allow them to smoke with all they have to deal with in these foreign countries. Next thing up, no beer. After all they are protecting us and our country. Give them a break, will you.