Health groups lobby for banning smoking among troops

Right-thinking health advocates and Pentagon medical staff have teamed up in appeals to the US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates asking him to prohibit tobacco consumption by US military forces and as well ban sales of tobacco products within military property. Well, many state that these appeals are reasonable, and the aims are worth to be respected. However, the suggestion, or at least its disclosure to public came at least possible suitable time, just several days from the biggest 24-hour death rate this year for U.S. forces in Middle East and Afghanistan.

The intention to prohibit smoking among troops is regarded as something to be revealed definitely not in time of sanguinary war.

According to the research accomplished by the Institute of Public Health, by request of Pentagon and American Veterans Committee, each third member of US troops smokes in comparison to 20 percent (each fifth) American adult, not involved in service.

Among other findings of the latter study are:

• The highest smoking rates in the US troops are among armed forces (37 percent) and naval forces (36 percent), who have been involved in the majority of fights during Afghanistan and Iraqi campaigns.

• Tobacco consumption doubled during campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, since soldiers tried to get rid of stress, depression and shock after each combat or difficult day of war.

• War Veterans are five times more likely to smoke or pick up smoking than those who served but did not take part in combats.

The research authors advised Pentagon authorities to approve step-by-step refusal from sponsored tobacco sales across U.S. military properties. Another suggest was to adopt several strict anti-smoking ordinances, paying specific attention to new-coming recruits, or at least those recruits who are not expected to take part in the campaigns in the nearest future.

However, shifting public attention to problems of smoking among US soldiers is more than a simple Hypocrisy from those feeling health groups, especially in times when US troops are facing horrible human looses.

The Pentagon has currently encountered a much severe health problem among soldiers and veterans – and namely the highest-than-ever rate of suicides among US military forces members. Statistics shows that the majority of suicides have been committed by active soldiers who took part in combats. Many of them have seen many combats, what definitely made their lives a nightmare, where tobacco was not the major evil.

These soldiers are struggling not only with enemy troops but also with their own fears; depression, stress and injuries, and health consequences associated with tobacco do not frighten them.

That is why the latest research suggested gradual ban of tobacco products, because mentally exhausted service members would simply not be able to overcome nicotine cravings.

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