Pentagon to ban tobacco use?

posted at 5:18 pm on July 10, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The iconic image of a soldier lighting up a smoke after a battle may go the way of draft cards.  USA Today reports that the Pentagon’s health experts are pushing for a ban on smoking in every branch of the service.  They cite the high cost of providing care for smoking-related ailments:

Pentagon health experts are urging Defense Secretary Robert Gates to ban the use of tobacco by troops and end its sale on military property, a change that could dramatically alter a culture intertwined with smoking.

Jack Smith, head of the Pentagon’s office of clinical and program policy, says he will recommend that Gates adopt proposals by a federal study that cites rising tobacco use and higher costs for the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs as reasons for the ban.

The study by the Institute of Medicine, requested by the VA and Pentagon, calls for a phased-in ban over a period of years, perhaps up to 20. “We’ll certainly be taking that recommendation forward,” Smith says.

A tobacco ban would confront a military culture, the report says, in which “the image of the battle-weary soldier in fatigues and helmet, fighting for his country, has frequently included his lit cigarette.”

Ironically, as the article notes, the Pentagon subsidizes tobacco use on bases now by subsidizing the cost of cigarettes and other tobacco products.  That makes it less expensive to maintain the habit, and could have something to do with the fact that a higher percentage of active-duty military smoke than veterans or the civilian population of the US.  One quick method to reduce the use of tobacco would be to simply stop lowering the price artificially, but that would not stop it altogether. [See update below.]

Although this news will bring instant and justified reactions in either direction, it’s a complicated issue.  Smoking causes health issues that the VA has to spend a great deal of money treating later down the road.  They could eliminate some of that spending and perhaps apply the resources to other issues (or just save costs outright) if they stopped the smoking culture of the military entirely.  On the other hand, we ask these men and women to put their lives on the line to defend our nation and to bring liberty around the world.  Is it right to begrudge them the freedom to choose for themselves whether to use tobacco products, a right that the rest of us still have while we’re safe at home?

I’d fall on the side of letting the troops make that decision for themselves, but ending the subsidies.  What do you think?  Cast your vote in this poll:

Update: I’ve received a few e-mails rebutting the contention in USA Today that the military subsidizes tobacco on bases. What they don’t do is charge the state taxes that apply everywhere else, which eliminates the artificial price increases on the product. According to some e-mails, they may have even changed this policy; one e-mailer says that tobacco and other products are almost the same price as off-base prices.


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Limerick on July 11, 2009 at 12:40 AM

No, no. I was saying IN GENERAL my money disappears very quickly. Mostly because food and housing is so darn expensive.

Rightwingguy on July 11, 2009 at 1:22 AM

I’d fall on the side of letting the troops make that decision for themselves, but ending the subsidies. What do you think?

Mr Morrissey how convenient and politically correct of you to “grant” our troops the “right” to smoke, but wanting to make it more expensive for them!

sanantonian on July 11, 2009 at 1:33 AM

Smoking is a deadly habit to get into. If the military needs regs to get soldiers to stop smoking, then do it.

pedestrian on July 11, 2009 at 3:39 AM

Smoking is a deadly habit to get into. If the military needs regs to get soldiers to stop smoking, then do it.

Very deadly. Like getting shot at in combat. Yet still, with an all volunteer force, the government trusts the soldiers enough to make a decision for themselves regarding whether or not to join up.
You’d think they could also leave this “deadly” decision to the troops.

Tesson on July 11, 2009 at 4:58 AM

Allow it but stop subsidizing it on base 23% (507 votes)

but ending the subsidies</em>.

What subsidies? They cost the same on base as they do off base.

The only difference is the sale tax.

DSchoen on July 11, 2009 at 5:19 AM

Ok, since I’m enlisted, and an occasional smoker (mostly when I’m down range) I figure I’d weigh in. I’m mostly a johnny come lately to this party because of the 6 hour time difference to Germany. I gotta sleep sometime.

That I’ve seen, most military posts charge somewhere in the neighborhood of what the off-post distributors charge for tobacco (including when I was in Ft. Lewis and Washington state was charging just shy of your firstborn for a carton). The exception is Germany, due to the totally different standards for taxes.
Regardless of how much it costs, it’s worth it to some people to smoke. When I was smoking almost a pack a day I ran a 13:15 two mile. I know guys who can smoke while running a 12:00 two mile. You can argue that health care costs to the VA later in life are raised by guys who smoke while they’re in the military, but is it any different if a guy start smoking after he gets out of the military? Are they really worried about the long-term health care costs of a guy would could get shot while in uniform? Let me paraphrase a Pentagon bean counter:

Pine box < emphysema

Spc Steve on July 11, 2009 at 6:09 AM

I use to smoke when near terminally angered. It helped me keep the near in there. I fear an increased likelihood of our troops committing an atrocity if they ban tobacco.

darktood on July 11, 2009 at 7:02 AM

Smoking is a deadly habit to get into. If the military needs regs to get soldiers to stop smoking, then do it.

pedestrian on July 11, 2009 at 3:39 AM

Diving out of a plane is a deadly habit. Perhaps our new sissy force should ban airborne

Jeff from WI on July 11, 2009 at 7:32 AM

When the phony-in-chief quits…

Mr. Grump on July 11, 2009 at 8:12 AM

I am a 24 year Army veteran. While I was in the Army I never smoked and I never will smoke. I used to hate picking up cigarette butts and cleaning out ash trays. I think the habit is bad and I don’t like the smell. But it is not right for the Chain of Command to ban smoking for our military. I strongly encourage people not to smoke, but it is their decision to make.

mindhacker on July 11, 2009 at 9:06 AM

I’m glad that most people voting in the poll agree that soldiers are adults that should be able to make up their own minds.

What’s sad is that too many of those same people don’t think business owners or civilians should have the same freedom.

Asher on July 11, 2009 at 9:25 AM

God knows the men and women who offer their lives in protection of liberty deserve to be kept safe from the self-righteous BS of the Nanny State do-gooders.

I guarantee more vets die of heart disease than of smoking related complaints. If the Brass is so stupid they push this BS on the troops their health commissioners will next want to toss the MacDonalds and Burger Kings off base.

The generals should save money by dismissing the “Health Experts”.

rcl on July 11, 2009 at 9:26 AM

You know, I am no smoker, and I hate, hate, hate when smokers light up without consideration that I want to remain a non-smoker irregardless of their smoking choice, but I HATE even more the government stepping in for these service people and making the “choice” for them.

It is shameful. Can someone please spank the Obama administration and send them to their room with no supper?

Noelie on July 11, 2009 at 9:51 AM

The government doesn’t artificially lower the cost of tobacco on base: It artificially raises it off base via taxes.

The use of tobacco is dangerous – no doubt about it. However, military members are all adults. If they choose to use it, they should be allowed to.

Perhaps the government should make it a policy to not treat smoking related diseases? Of course, considering the toxic environment of most battlefields, proving that your emphysema or COPD is from cigarettes and not explosives might be difficult.

HBowmanMD on July 11, 2009 at 10:02 AM

I quit smoking almost 20 years ago. But it was my choice. Soldiers and sailors put their lives on the line for my benefit. They can do as they see fit on this issue. And thank you to every member of the military for your service.

Mr. D on July 11, 2009 at 10:21 AM

If lighting up gives them some pleasure while they are putting their lives on the line for us, then let them have it. Whats next? Not let them have a tv in the mess hall? Its not prison ya know. Oh wait, they have tv there.

johnnyU on July 11, 2009 at 10:24 AM

Ed, Ed, Ed. Clearly you were never a G.I. It’s “Smoke’em if you got’em”

E9RET on July 11, 2009 at 10:28 AM

I’m a 67 year old retired Army soldier. I still smoke a pack of cigs a day. I have no trouble breathing. I used to run at least 2 miles every day while I was in the Army. Now my legs hurt and I have trouble walking more than a few blocks.
(I think they should ban running in the military. That’s where the problem is: running! /sarc)

Ask this 100 year old woman what she thinks:
http://wildbillkblog.blogspot.com/2007/09/anti-smoking-zealots.html

WildBillK on July 11, 2009 at 10:31 AM

Then ban all alcohol.
Fuzzlenutter on July 10, 2009 at 5:25 PM

General Order #1 in all combat zones

“No alcohol”

I was smoking cigarettes when I joined in 1967 and stopped in 1982 before I retired in 1995.

Leave the f**king G.I.s alone!!!! Sheesh!

E9RET on July 11, 2009 at 10:34 AM

sanantonian on July 11, 2009 at 1:33 AM

Ed, you left out the option of leaving the situation as it is.

Mighty lefty of you.

dogsoldier on July 11, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Sometimes a cigarette is a good way to relieve some stress. Sometimes a cigar is a good part of a celebration.

I forget, but I remember from a tv thing in my yout’ that it was either Adm Nimitz or Halsey that said he “didn’t trust a military man who neither drank nor smoked.”

Well, when I joined da Army back in ’67, smokes were still in C-rats and your company would periodically throw a beer bust for the soldiers. And we chased skirts where we could find them (and bought services when we couldn’t catch them with our ample charms).

Then, in the late ’70s or early ’80s, after MADD came alon, alcohol was subject to “deglamorization” and away went the beer busts, happy hours at the clubs (had full-price drinks, but free snacks). But the danger of being stalked by the MPs for having any alcohol in your system while driving pretty much killed happy hour all together. So much for informal bonding. And the beer was out at most unit functions. And most unit functions ceased to function. So much for esprit de Corps.

In the last year or two, as part of the “trafficking in humans” sensitivity training (SENSITIVITY TRAINING??!!), they were told that Congress was going to try to get patronizing hookers as a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Cigarettes used to be cheap on post — I remember Camels being less than a buck a carton at the commissary in ’65 or ’66 (I was a GI brat so was working as a bagger).

Then, years later after the dopers took over, smoking TOBACCO became a terrible thing. So prices on base were made to match the going cost down town. No more cheapo smokes.

Now they’re trying to halt smoking (tobacco) all together.

Eff them. The military “leadership” (in DOD, in Congress, in the Military in general) has become a PC-crazed bunch of ninnies extending the nanny-state to our Servicemembers.

You can kill people, but don’t you DARE smoke a cigarette.

Dan. on July 11, 2009 at 11:02 AM

I’m in the Air Force. Been in 16 years. I quit smoking 8 years ago and never went back.

To take the choice away is just ridiculous. It’s funny…ban smoking with military…but allow abortions to stay legal. At least with smoking you COULD die.

Black Adam on July 11, 2009 at 11:07 AM

Here’s the deal on “subsidy” of smoking: AAFES, the military sales system, does NOT subsidize cigarettes. It is correct that it does not collect cigarette taxes for the state, as civilian retail sellers do.

The reason AAFES charges almost as much for cigarettes as civilian sellers is that it can. Do you know what AAFES profits go to? Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) for the troops and their families. Ball park, picnic park, and swimming pool maintenance, sports programs, leisure activities for servicemembers on long-term hospital stays, etc.

If DOD wants to stop selling cigarettes through AAFES, that’s one thing. If we’re going to use the clinical approach and look at what costs the services money, AAFES should stop selling alcoholic beverages first.

I can definitely see the NCOs and officers being particularly up in arms about banning smoking entirely, though, as it’s a fairly typical thing, when units are deployed, for them to have informal groups that puff cigars together now and then. The average senior cigar-smoker is already buying his (or her) smokes from a civilian retail seller. You don’t want the cheap stuff AAFES offers.

This is a bad idea. A compromise position would be to terminate AAFES sales of cigarettes and cigars. That, of course, will cut AAFES profits, which will mean significant money to MWR.

J.E. Dyer on July 11, 2009 at 11:12 AM

The expenses incurred by the military to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” is a financial burden that we all must bear, collectively.

Therefore, in an effort to reduce these costs:

27% of the people on the poll above should be banned from the protection provided under the Constitution.

How can you grow up in the United States and miss the premise that your own freedom is directly connected to the respect you have for the freedom of others?

“No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last find the other end fastened about his own neck”

Frederick Douglass

Saltysam on July 11, 2009 at 11:14 AM

If the Commander-In-Chief can smoke the troops should be allowed.

Dork B. on July 11, 2009 at 11:16 AM

I’m sure we all know smoking is bad for you. Let’s ban every little thing that could even remotely be hazardous. That way, no one will ever die again. Cars, ban em. Walking your dog, ban it. Sitting home and watching a movie, ban it. A meteor may fall out of the sky and kill you. Eating, ban it. You may choke to death. This is just as foolish as that stuff. Speaking of foolish, aren’t prisons federal? Killers, rapists and various other fine people are allowed to smoke in prison. Felons that worsen America are now allowed more privileges than solders that are fighting trying to save America? Something very, very wrong here.

pitter43 on July 11, 2009 at 11:52 AM

Ya Right! You tell the military men I knew, “there will be no more smoking ” you had better be real damn careful opening you tent, they call it “fragging,” you old-timers will know what it means.
If your old enough to get your ass shot off while serving this country, your old enough to make your own decision on smoking a damn cigarette.

try again later on July 11, 2009 at 12:08 PM

The big thing that got smoking a foothold in this country were two world wars in which the tobacco companies provided “free” tobacco to the troops. Our government paid for the shipping and distribution that got the cancer sticks out to the troops.

I say that if the troops want their ciggies, they can go off-base to get them at local tobaccanists or have their families ship it to them from home. I do not want my tax money subsidizing the tobacco industry any more than it already does. Just as I wouldn’t want cyanide in the base exchange, I don’t want tobacco there either.

unclesmrgol on July 11, 2009 at 12:26 PM

Back in my day we had strippers and suds at the EM club for lunch. Faggs were the least of our sins. What in hell has happened to the world?

dingbat on July 11, 2009 at 12:28 PM

1. What about emotional health? I don’t think these do-gooders are factoring combat stress and other factors into their fancy equations and actuarial tables.

2. Can’t these yahoos wait until peacetime to pull sh-t like this?? For the love of God.

RD on July 11, 2009 at 12:28 PM

Smoking is a deadly habit to get into. If the military needs regs to get soldiers to stop smoking, then do it.

pedestrian on July 11, 2009 at 3:39 AM

Why should the military have the authority to ban the use of a legal product?

Until the government has the balls to enact an outright ban on the sale or use of tobacco products they should stay out of my personal business.

BacaDog on July 11, 2009 at 12:28 PM

I wouldn’t put it past this congress to try and ban the use of guns by those in the military too, they should just fix up Iraq and other areas with good intentions and maybe stop signs.

Rbastid on July 11, 2009 at 12:29 PM

unclesmrgol on July 11, 2009 at 12:26 PM

Your tax money does not subsidize the tobacco industry in any way, shape or form.

BacaDog on July 11, 2009 at 12:29 PM

After we let the government nannies ban tobacco, after we use the “health” justification, let’s be sure to use that same justification when the ban for unhealthy foods kicks into effect.

Commissaries, shoppetes, BX/PX’s sell plenty of non healthy foods and “sugary drinks” – banning them in the military would also make the force healthier and cut down on health “maintenance” costs right?

The lion’s share of tobacco products sold on military bases (especially in the Commisaries) are bought by military retirees, those on fixed incomes, and elderly dependents. Sounds like a good idea to take more moey out of their pockets huh? Of course going along with the left’s ideas about rationing of care later in life, you’d think they’d just let the elderly smoke it up and quicken their way to the afterlife and I’m only being marginally sarcastic when I say that.

This is being proposed because as with the Clinton administration, they can force through social engineering projects without most of the hubbub they would get trying this elsewhere and because not as many people smoke in the military as used to twenty or more years ago. Yes, even though the percentage is higher, less people smoke now than they did.

In AETC in the Air Forcce, smoking during the training day is already banned – if you attend tech school or the NCO Academy for example, you aren’t allowed to smoke during the training day. Basic trainees, even if they are smokers before they come in, are forced to go cold turkey when they get to basic, they can’t smoke at all (notwithstanding the occasional smoke which might get sneaked).

It is illustrative of the progressive mindset though. Let’s “phase this in over 20 years”. Sounds like most progressive/libtard ideas.

catmman on July 11, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Barack and company had to get one right eventually.

Smokers may have justification for defending a right to wreck their own health, but never to the detriment of those around them. Few things wind me up more than a smoker ruining the air that other people have to breathe.

Just chew the stuff and get oral cancer instead of lung cancer, if that’s your wish.

ElectricPhase on July 11, 2009 at 12:33 PM

They should certainly NOT be subsidizing tobacco. That’s ridiculous.

I’m for a ban on bases since it affects others besides the smokers, but the military can’t do anything about off base smoking.

scotash on July 11, 2009 at 12:46 PM

Your tax money does not subsidize the tobacco industry in any way, shape or form.

BacaDog on July 11, 2009 at 12:29 PM

I think you are badly misinformed.

Example 1: My tax dollars, via the Tobacco Transition Payment Program, pay tobacco farmers to grow tobacco. That program, which begain in 2005, does not end until 2014.

Example 2: My tax dollars fund a crop failure insurance/assistance program for tobacco growers via the FCIC (Federal Crop Insurance Corporation), a government-owned corporation overseen by the USDA.

Bet you didn’t know that Fannie and Freddie had cousins in the tobacco industry?

So, say again?

unclesmrgol on July 11, 2009 at 12:57 PM

The government needs to stay out of our lives period! The nice thing about freedom is having the right to decide ourselves what one does. Isn’t freedom what our men and women are fighting for on our behalf? This is just another way to ‘distract’ us from all the other liberties Obama is rushing to take away from us everyday. This huge Nanny State is going to endanger our lives far worse than smoking.

ccbokc on July 11, 2009 at 12:58 PM

Of course soldiers and civilians should be able to decide for themselves to smoke tobacco, or drink alcohol, or smoke marijuana.

deesine on July 11, 2009 at 1:09 PM

The big thing that got smoking a foothold in this country were two world wars in which the tobacco companies provided “free” tobacco to the troops.

Sounds like a conspiracy.
Hershey must have been in on that too with all those free candy bars. So were those evil coffee makers! I know for a fact GI’s were gulping down cups of Joe by the gallon! God how I hate these evil corporations we have in these free societies. It’s not like that in those totalitarian states. When they addict you to something, it’s by the barrel of a gun. Not like here, mind you, it’s much more evil and sly. Thank God for Obama, he’ll change all that soon enough, though.

JellyToast on July 11, 2009 at 1:10 PM

You can kill people, but don’t you DARE smoke a cigarette.

Dan. on July 11, 2009 at 11:02 AM

+1

Mephistefales on July 11, 2009 at 1:13 PM

Not only that, but “we’ll tell you who you have to kill, but don’t smoke that cig.”

Mephistefales on July 11, 2009 at 1:14 PM

Send_Me:

“Now, let’s compare that to the “$96.7 billion… spent on public and private health care combined”

The fact that “supporters of the FDA bill” have to include the costs of private care, which you are not paying for, in order to come up with a number that exceeds the tobacco tax revenues ought to tell you something. If all you really care about is your wallet, you should be demanding that the CDC factor the economic benefits of early death into the equation, so that you can actually draw an informed conclusion.

Anti-smoking activists scrupulously avoid such stats, because mustering constituents to the cause would get a whole lot harder. So would admitting that we’re really talking about a flat out sin tax, because who knows how soon your own favorite indulgence will make the list?

What they really out to outlaw is cities. How can all the folks who wax hysterical about a whiff of smoke in a hallway justify living — and raising their children! — in places where you have to wipe black grime off your houseplants and furniture, if you open your windows? If you want to know about unhealthy air, put your meter at a busy intersection with stoplights.

As far as I’m concerned however, the military is the last place anyone should be talking about cutting healthcare costs. Period. Financial outlays don’t begin to cover the debt each and everyone of us owe those who serve.

JM Hanes on July 11, 2009 at 1:19 PM

“Here’s the deal on “subsidy” of smoking: AAFES, the military sales system, does NOT subsidize cigarettes. It is correct that it does not collect cigarette taxes for the state, as civilian retail sellers do.”

J.E. Dyer on July 11, 2009 at 11:12 AM

I think you hit the nail on the head right there. TAXES are not collected for the state. That’s what the libs hate about anyone in the military smoking.

jack herman on July 11, 2009 at 1:19 PM

I gave up smoking five weeks ago but I think people should be allowed to smoke if they want. There’s no good reason to turn the military into Bloombergistan.

aengus on July 11, 2009 at 1:26 PM

Even the condemned man got a last cigarette

If it costs the military more in medical, let that be the cost of men giving up their liberty to go into the gates of hell and face mutilation, torture and death for their country

Do they understand these are volunteers and free men and not trained cattle?

I speak as a non smoker who dislikes smoke.

entagor on July 11, 2009 at 1:41 PM

What’s next? All military bases turned into Gun-Free zones?

These anti-smokers are the absolute scourge of the planet. Their mental problems, which are serious, will kill us all. And, for the record, smokers cost less in health care than most, since we die fast and early. I’m waiting for changes in my FICA charges, since everyone keeps telling me that I’ll never live to collect anything. But, I guess it never goes both ways with smoking …

progressoverpeace on July 11, 2009 at 1:51 PM

I am a 24 year Army veteran. While I was in the Army I never smoked and I never will smoke. I used to hate picking up cigarette butts and cleaning out ash trays. I think the habit is bad and I don’t like the smell. But it is not right for the Chain of Command to ban smoking for our military. I strongly encourage people not to smoke, but it is their decision to make.

mindhacker on July 11, 2009

Agreed. There are a lot of bad habits, but one of the worst is being holier than thou.

SKYFOX on July 11, 2009 at 2:00 PM

I can’t believe how far we’ve strayed from the original notion of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” that we can have this debate with a straight face.
.
I mean seriously folks, the only card in this game that plays is the legitimate concerns of those exposed to second-hand smoke.
.
Otherwise, how about a strong dose of libertarianism?
.
One closing thought, how do you think this will affect enlistment and retention? I smoked throughout my 4 year stint in the USMC. I might never have joined if they told me that I had to face bullets but not butts.

Metanis on July 11, 2009 at 2:22 PM

Doesn’t make much sense to cite the cost of smoking ailments to a group that is routinely in the line of fire from mcuh more potent sources. Typical government idiocy.

jeanie on July 11, 2009 at 2:27 PM

I’m a 67 year old retired Army soldier. I still smoke a pack of cigs a day. I have no trouble breathing. I used to run at least 2 miles every day while I was in the Army. Now my legs hurt and I have trouble walking more than a few blocks.
(I think they should ban running in the military. That’s where the problem is: running! /sarc)

WildBillK on July 11, 2009 at 10:31 AM

Judging by your age you probably had to PT in combat boots as well? Being forced to duck walk after having been captured in a SERE exercise did my knees in.

Most of the guys in my battery didn’t smoke from what I remember, some dipped of course. When confronted with alternating stretches of hideous boredom interspersed with frenetic activity and high stress, the cigs definitely helped in both cases. Not having been shot at, I can only imagine the calming effects of nicotine for many of those guys.

When I was in they (military) also had this big campaign to discourage alcohol. Then there was this thing where you couldn’t sing ‘dirty Jodies’ because it might offend the women. The military has become a PC extension of the Liberal bureaucrats and politicians in Washington over the last 30 years.

Also, remember that many men in World War II became smokers. Wonder how this would have gone over with our Greatest Generation? Would have told them to stuff it.

The military has long been the PC showcase for what the Government has in store for the country as a whole.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 11, 2009 at 2:30 PM

So, say again?

unclesmrgol on July 11, 2009 at 12:57 PM

Sorry, uncle, you’re not quite correct.

The TTPP , also known as the “buyout” came about when the old quota system for tobacco production ceased to exist. Under the TTPP, quota holders are paid an annual fee, but the fee, via the Commodity Credit Corp, is funded entirely from assessments on tobacco product manufacturers.

You’re partly right on the crop insurance. Farmers of eligible crops can get catastrophic coverage, called CAT, where the coverage is paid for by the government. The grower pays a $300 fee and is only covered for a percentage of the crop, not the entire thing. A grower can buy other coverage entirely on his own dime.

What you forget to mention is the annual payments from the Master Settlement Agreement which are paid annually by manufacturers. Here’s a recap:

States were to receive over $206 billion over 25 years:

* Up-front payments – $12.742 billion.
* Annual Payments, beginning April 15, 2000 – $183.177 billion through 2025.
* Strategic Contribution Fund, 2008-2017 – $8.61 billion.
* National Foundation ($250 million over 10 years).
* Public Education Fund (at least $1.45 billion 2000-2003).
* State Enforcement Fund ($50 million, one-time payment).
* National Association of Attorneys General ($1.5 billion over next 10 years).

So, in addition to tobacco taxes paid by the consumer, which increased tremendously via SCHIP, the manufacturers will be paying billions per year through 2025. Add to that the annual corporate taxes paid on earnings (billions more).

In the end, I’d say the industry doesn’t cost the taxpayer a dime.

BacaDog on July 11, 2009 at 2:43 PM

In the end, I’d say the industry doesn’t cost the taxpayer a dime.

BacaDog on July 11, 2009 at 2:43 PM

I didn’t mention the quota system (the previous way the Government subsidized the tobacco industry) because it’s been superceded by this new teat. If I’d brought in the quota system, I’d be talking about past taxes I had to pay to subsidize the tobacco industry, not current ones. Since conversation revolved around current affairs, I left the quota system out. But since you choose to bring it in, the tobacco industry became the multi-billion dollar behemoth it is partially on the backs of me, my parents, and my grandparents. Of the three, my dad smoked during WWII (since that was what you did with your free cigarettes), and my mom smoked right up until the last day when she died of emphysema. So maybe my mom was glad to pay those taxes, but I doubt the others were, and I certainly can say for a fact that I’m not.

As for including the stuff in the Master Settlement, those are damages for what the tobacco industry has done to private citizens in the past, not a tax on the industry itself. The states that are getting the settlements (which are not every state, just those with the courage to face up to Big Tobacco) are getting a small fraction of the real damages done by Joe Camel to their private citizens, including myself.

You’ve done a very good job of lying with statistics, but you’ll have to do better.

unclesmrgol on July 11, 2009 at 3:02 PM

People who join the military are risk takers by nature. They are also like sheepdogs, scary to the sheep they are sworn to protect.

I guess this is some way for the sheep to show they have “power” over the sheepdogs.

E9RET on July 11, 2009 at 3:04 PM

THIS STORY JUST TELLS US HOW FAR THE PENTAGON IS INFILTRATED WITH NANNY-STATE MORONS (LIKE THE ONE JUST APPOINTED BY THE GREAT LAIR)

SO WHAT IS NEXT? TELL THE SOLDIERS NOT TO CARRY GUNS BECAUSE GUNS CAN KILL THEM?

OR NOT PRACTISE SHOOTING BECAUSE IT IS BAD FOR YOUR HEARING AND TOXIC POLLUTANS ARE RELEASED?

MAY BE THOSE NANNIES SHOULD GO TO THOSE SOLDIERS, TUCK THEM IN BED WITH A NICE BED-TIME STORY LIKE “JIMMY HAS-TWO-DADDIES”

OR MAY BE THE PENTAGON SHOULD JUST KICK THOSE NANNIES OUT OF THE PENTAGON SINCE THEY HAVE NO UNDERSTANDING ON WHAT REAL HEALTH RISKS THE SOLDIERS ARE EXPOSED OF

mooseburger on July 11, 2009 at 3:09 PM


I STILL HAVE TO MEET A SOLDIER WHOSE FEAR IS TO DIE OF CANCER IS BIGGER THEN DYING ON THE BATTLE FIELD.

ALL NANNIES SHOULD BE BOOTED OUT OF THE PENTAGON (AND FOR THAT MATTER, ALSO THE WHITE HOUSE, CONGRESS AND THE SENATE)

mooseburger on July 11, 2009 at 3:15 PM

Caps off please.

Akzed on July 11, 2009 at 3:22 PM

I didn’t mention the quota system (the previous way the Government subsidized the tobacco industry) because it’s been superceded by this new teat.

The quota system was funded entirely by user fees paid by the growers, warehousemen and tobacco buyers. The TTTP is funded entirely by manufacturer assessments. Catastrophic loss insurance is funded by the taxpayer, but is not a tobacco specific program.

So, exactly where, today, are your tax dollars subsidizing tobacco.

BacaDog on July 11, 2009 at 3:46 PM

This sort of reminds me of the axiom that “speed kills”. Indy 500, Daytona, Le Mans ect……..Which is safer, going fast on the race track or driving on the street.

Johan Klaus on July 11, 2009 at 3:48 PM

I quit smoking a few years ago and if my temper was any indication of what it is like for most smokers to quit…well I am not sure I think taking a soldier’s smokes away from his such a good idea.

Terrye on July 11, 2009 at 4:29 PM

The Marlboro Marine

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/marlboromarine/

Remember this guy?

He was attached to Charlie Company of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, which took part in the November 2004 assault on Fallujah.

Entering the city on November 8, 2004, they encountered heavy fire almost immediately, and were pinned down all night at a traffic circle.

In the morning, his unit took fire again and had to run into a house for cover. After securing the house, Miller (The Marlboro Marine) the platoon’s radioman, called in tank fire on a nearby house.

In the moments after the tank blasts shook the home they were located in, a photo was taken of Miller, The Marlboro Marine

Miller propped against a wall, smoking a cigarette; Miller’s face was smeared with war paint, blood trickled from his right ear and bridge of his nose, and he was momentarily deafened by the cannon blasts.

This is the point I want the “Nanny Nazis” to go up to a Marine/Soldier and tell em

you have to put that cigarette out cuz it’s bad for your health”

I would pay money to see that!

DSchoen on July 11, 2009 at 5:07 PM

OR NOT PRACTISE SHOOTING BECAUSE IT IS BAD FOR YOUR HEARING AND TOXIC POLLUTANS ARE RELEASED?

Uhmm, well ah, that’s kinda already happened.

http://www.thegunzone.com/green-ammo.html

Green Ammo
Next, it’s “Environmentally Friendly Ammunition”

In 1994 the U.S. Army started researching ways to make a more “environmentally friendly” 5.56 mm bullet. They subsequently ordered that the lead in 5.56mm projectiles used in cartridges for their M16 rifles and other small arms, be replaced by tungsten.

This was in response to environmentalists who worried about lead contamination by millions of conventional lead bullets at practice ranges.

New York State DMNA is already mandating that all non-military users of their training facilities use this “earth sensitive ammunition.”

Ancillary to this is that unless ATF amends their present regulations, any of the new milspec 5.56mm ammo will henceforth be prohibited to civilian shooters, an opinion first expressed by savvy barrister, gun rights activist and TGZ consigliore Rob Firriolo, and confirmed by his research.

Why? Because when you replace lead with tungsten, you create AP ammo

DSchoen on July 11, 2009 at 5:25 PM

Do they understand these are volunteers and free men and not trained cattle?
I speak as a non smoker who dislikes smoke.
entagor on July 11, 2009

This is the same group of “Nanny Nazi” that will tell a “terminally ill” person that they “can’t smoke pot” cuz it could give them “lung cancer”.

DSchoen on July 11, 2009 at 5:34 PM

Any of you dumb bastards that have never been in combat don’t have a leg to stand on. It’s called STRESS, shithead. You don’t like my message, tough shit. Viet nam, Mekong delta, B Co, 3/47th Infantry, 1967. I quit in 1971. Stress was gone. Comprende? Jesus, where do you people get your brains – Cracker Jack?

LarryG on July 11, 2009 at 7:39 PM

What’s next? All military bases turned into Gun-Free zones?

progressoverpeace on July 11, 2009 at 1:51 PM

It has already started…at my last physical I was asked by the Docs if I had personal weapons at home. When I replied in the affirmative there was a note made in my med records and I received a lecture about having weapons at home and that they are dangerous. I asked others and apparently this is SOP now. Unfreakin’ believable. Also, if you say you smoke you get lectures and followup emails. even if completely healthy. This nany state, total control bullshit is an effort to kill what made our country great…individual liberty!

jwp1964 on July 11, 2009 at 8:20 PM

YEAH!!! BAN TOBACCO USE IN THE MILITARY!!!!! Who cares that the product is entirely legal and that “these people fight for our freedom.” Those are just lame excuses for them to justify their poor choices!!!! I’m so sick of paying for other people’s care with my tax dollars (Unemployment Insurance, Medicare, etc.). Since we pay their wages, Service Member’s shouldn’t be able to take part in behaviors that are a detriment to their health, which costs US in turn!!! There should also be a ban on foods that are high in saturated fat, and then a full stop to all of that ridiculous training that they do on a daily basis, which often leads to a multitude of various bodily injuries requiring that they seek costly medical attention!!!
.
Hey… don’t we pay politician’s wages too? Hmm…

Cody Baker on July 11, 2009 at 8:57 PM

it’s a complicated issue. Smoking causes health issues that the VA has to spend a great deal of money treating later down the road. They could eliminate some of that spending and perhaps apply the resources to other issues (or just save costs outright) if they stopped the smoking culture of the military entirely.

You are so spot on most of the time I’m going to give you a pass when it comes to anything to do with the military. Despite your claim of being the “Captain” you don’t know the military so please stop pretending you can speak intelligently about this stuff.

It isn’t a complicated issue. So long as smoking is allowed in society, the VA needs to figure out how to deal with this issue without mandates to hold the military to a different standard than the society in general.

BTW, I’ve never smoked and just retired from the military.

highhopes on July 11, 2009 at 9:41 PM

Ban smoking in the Whitehouse, let the president of our country lead by example. If smoking is such a terrible thing, why isn’t that idea being floated?
Our brave military put their lives on the line for our freedom, and we want to limit their access to tobacco, that’s nuts.

Mulligan on July 11, 2009 at 10:35 PM

jwp1964 on July 11, 2009 at 8:20 PM

Unreal. You can’t even make a totally ridiculous joke these days without finding it to already be some sort of government policy. G-d help us.

progressoverpeace on July 11, 2009 at 11:03 PM

(Sigh) … Why is Ed trying to come up with ways to get the troops to stop smoking? Why would he care? Is Ed trying to get hired on by HuffPo now? Because that’s where “busy-bodies” who want to interfere with everyone else’s lives, freedoms, and business are supposed to blog.

FACT: More Military Members die (or are injured) in motorcycle accidents each year than are killed (or injured) by smoking. Hey! Let’s ban soldiers from riding motorcycles! Yay!

FACT: More Military members die (or are injured) by excessive alcohol consumption each year than are killed (or injured) by smoking. Hey! Let’s ban soldiers from drinking beer and liqueur. Yay!

FACT: More Military members die (or are injured) by participating in their service’s physical readiness program each year than are killed (or injured) by smoking.

I am not pulling this out of a dark hole folks – these are facts – I’m retired Navy – I’ve seen this. During the Clinton years – one of the SecNav’s set a goal for a “smoke free Navy” by the year 2000.

Hehe – it didn’t happen.

So yeah – let’s ban everything that’s potentially dangerous to soldiers – except stopping bullets with their chests – see how many recruits voluntarily sign up to join a nanny outfit where every decision about their lives is made by the Pentagon or the Obama administration.

Real good.

Getting very disappointed in Ed lately – signing on to these liberal busy-body efforts as if there’s actually some legitimacy in them. Ed – let people live their lives the way they want to – especially the ones who DEFEND YOUR RIGHT TO WRITE THIS TRASH. They’re big boys and girls – they don’t need your help brother.

HondaV65 on July 11, 2009 at 11:50 PM

Well, I don’t think it’s so bad to ban tobacco use in the military. They chose to join the military, tobacco is bad for your health, so I don’t see much of a problem with this.

Libertarian Joseph on July 12, 2009 at 12:05 AM

FACT: More Military Members die (or are injured) in motorcycle accidents each year than are killed (or injured) by smoking. Hey! Let’s ban soldiers from riding motorcycles! Yay!

FACT: More Military members die (or are injured) by excessive alcohol consumption each year than are killed (or injured) by smoking. Hey! Let’s ban soldiers from drinking beer and liqueur. Yay!

FACT: More Military members die (or are injured) by participating in their service’s physical readiness program each year than are killed (or injured) by smoking.

HondaV65 on July 11, 2009 at 11:50 PM

Facts that are distorted in that long term effects of smoking tend to show up long after the military member has hung up the uniform for the last time.

Don’t you want vets to live long lives? If you are in combat and your partner can’t cut a 200 yard dash to save your behind because of their smoking would you think differently?

Bradky on July 12, 2009 at 12:31 AM

Kind of hard to tell someone with RPG rounds coming at them, IEDs blowing up around them, and AK rounds coming in not to light that cigarette because it might be bad for their health.

What complete idiocy.

crosspatch on July 12, 2009 at 2:02 AM

If you are going to ban smoking, do it by attrition … simply stop recruiting people who smoke. Problem will take care of itself in about 20 years.

Oh, and if we ever need to start a draft in an emergency, the no smoking rule is going to need to go away.

crosspatch on July 12, 2009 at 2:05 AM

They’re big boys and girls – they don’t need your help brother.
HondaV65 on July 11, 2009 at 11:50 PM

Well there ya go again! Pulling out that brutal gang of facts!

T

here is nothing more horrible than the murder of a beautiful theory by a brutal gang of facts

.

La Rochefoucauld

DSchoen on July 12, 2009 at 5:58 AM

but never to the detriment of those around them.
Few things wind me up more than a smoker ruining the air that other people have to breathe.
ElectricPhase

And when was the last time your “air” was ruined by a smoker on a base or battlefield?

DSchoen on July 12, 2009 at 6:11 AM

Well, I don’t think it’s so bad to ban tobacco use in the military. They chose to join the military, tobacco is bad for your health, so I don’t see much of a problem with this.

Libertarian Joseph on July 12, 2009 at 12:05 AM

Fighting and getting killed for your country and morons who post crap is dangerous…lets ban the military entirely…jackass

jwp1964 on July 12, 2009 at 7:16 AM

Servicemembers fight and guard our freedoms; therefore, the DoD should allow them to maintain their freedom to smoke or not.

I absolutely loathe smoking and tobacco and have seen and treated the clinical outcomes of chronic tobacco use. I discourage my patients from using tobacco and educate them on the likely poor clinical outcomes associated with tobacco abuse. However, as a soldier and health care provider, I support the freedom to choose as well as the shared responsibility for the cost of tobacco use.

The DoD should consider levying a health care premium against the basic pay of smoking soldiers as a cost sharing measure for their health care. This would maintain the freedom to choose (as they are fighting for), as well as support personal responsibility for the known health outcomes of the smoking habit. A move like this by the DoD would fundamentally shift the public health debate from one of entitlement, toward one of shared responsibility for unhealthy habits rather than using draconian measures to curb tobacco use.

US servicemembers are adults and can be treated as such. Personal responsibility plans are the answer.

ted c on July 12, 2009 at 7:49 AM

Folks:
US Marine Corps MSG John Hayes was killed by an IED last week as he led a convoy in Iraq. MSGt Hayes leaves behind a wife and three beautiful children. He fought and died for our freedom. He fought and died for the freedom of the Iraqi people. His loss leaves a gaping hole in a young family, the Marine Corps, and in our nation.

We would be remarkably remiss to begin restricting any more freedoms on our servicemembers who already sacrifice much of their freedom—in efforts to preserve our own.

God Bless MSG Hayes and his family.

ted c on July 12, 2009 at 8:30 AM

Jacksonville Daily News — The Marine Corps has released the names of two Camp Lejeune Marines killed Wednesday while supporting combat operation in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Master Sgt. John Hayes, 36, of Middleburg, Fla., and Lance Cpl. Roger Hager, 20, of Gibsonville were assigned to 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion.

Hayes, was the operations chief for Company A, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 3, according to a press release from II Marine Expeditionary Force. He joined the Marine Corps July 1991 and was promoted to the rank of master sergeant in September 2008.

Hayes deployed to Afghanistan in April. His previous deployments included Kosovo and Albania in 1998, Kuwait in 1991 and Iraq in 2003 and 2007.

Hayes is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.

His awards include two Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals, three Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals, two Combat Action Ribbons, a Joint Meritorious Unit Award, a Navy Unit Commendation, two Navy Meritorious Unit Citations, five Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, a Southwest Asia Service Medal, two Kosovo Campaign medals, a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Armed Forces Service Medal, two Humanitarian Service Medals, six Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, a Marine Security Guard Ribbon, two NATO Medals, and the Kuwait Liberation Medal.

Some of his formal military training included School of Infantry, U.S. Army Airborne School, Marine Combat Dive School, Marine Scout Sniper School, U.S. Army Ranger School and Marine Security Guard School.

ted c on July 12, 2009 at 8:32 AM

Fighting and getting killed for your country and morons who post crap is dangerous…lets ban the military entirely…jackass

jwp1964 on July 12, 2009 at 7:16 AM

Wow, are you in need of your nicotine fix, buddy? I guess you don’t care if the military is in better shape or not. The military is not the free market, it is an organization that people voluntarily join. Name calling over cigarettes? ha

How about this policy: Buy your own cigarettes.

Libertarian Joseph on July 12, 2009 at 9:07 AM

Why should the military have the authority to ban the use of a legal product?

Until the government has the balls to enact an outright ban on the sale or use of tobacco products they should stay out of my personal business.

BacaDog on July 11, 2009 at 12:28 PM

Have asked that question of my reps and (of course) never did get an answer.

hillbilly on July 12, 2009 at 10:06 AM

The DoD should consider levying a health care premium against the basic pay of smoking soldiers as a cost sharing measure for their health care.
ted c on July 12, 2009 at 7:49 AM

Yup, let’s tax the GI. Wouldn’t be without precedent.

Remember the outcry against the VA for wanting to recoup expenses by charging vets’ civilian insurance for treatment of service-connected disabilities?

Well, the active Military Treatment Facilities already do so.

I asked around our local military hospital and found out that “third party” payments are already collected from retirees with civilian insurance (over and above the Tricare Prime they’re paying for their guaranteed “free” lifetime healthcare).

But back to the charging a premium idea — Let’s also do the same for those who drink. And for retirees on tricare, tricare prime or tricare-for-life, let’s also charge them more for being outside BMI limits, having melanomas for sun exposure (they should cover up when golfing — or time travel back and do so when they were part of the crew of 105mm howitzers at a firebase someplace).

If they ever smoked, charge them for any respiratory care. Being exposed to hazardous chemicals, weird fumes, and lots of other odd things inhaled while on active duty obviously won’t have anything to do with it. And while we’re at it, if the indiv never smoked, let’s find the roommate or soldier next to him, and fine him for the second-hand-smoke.

Sheesh.

Dan. on July 12, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Haven’t read all the pages, and this probably came up from someone else, but the contradiction between this smoking ban suggestion and repealing DADT is pretty glaring IMO.

So, some would like to remove any restrictions about sexual orientation, but impose a ban on tobacco use?

cs89 on July 12, 2009 at 11:10 AM

Leave our soldiers alone!

If anything, offer them free stop-smoking classes WHEN THEY LEAVE!

PattyJ on July 12, 2009 at 11:56 AM

What about the health care costs for lazy fatasses later in life? They like to go after smokers but shouldn’t the fatasses bear the brunt if we’re going down the sadistic slope of social engineering? They always have health issues, smokers die younger many times. They give you a break, not to mention the ridiculous taxes they already pay. That’s social security not paid, among other services.

LevStrauss on July 12, 2009 at 12:44 PM

The quota system was funded entirely by user fees paid by the growers, warehousemen and tobacco buyers. The TTTP (sic) is funded entirely by manufacturer assessments. Catastrophic loss insurance is funded by the taxpayer, but is not a tobacco specific program.

So, exactly where, today, are your tax dollars subsidizing tobacco.

BacaDog on July 11, 2009 at 3:46 PM

Does catastrophic loss cover tobacco? If so, I stand by my assertion. Again, just because some program covers things in addition to tobacco, that does not mitigate the fact that it covers tobacco.

And the TTPP’s administrative costs are borne by the general budget of the USDA, which translates (again) to my taxpayer dollars.

So there you have direct taxpayer costs in two examples. I’d go into the human costs (my mom, who started smoking when she was 10, or my wife’s father, who started when he was 3 (how cute the little guy looks with a ciggy in his mouth…), but then I’d be doing red herrings like you.

unclesmrgol on July 12, 2009 at 1:05 PM

FACT: More Military members die (or are injured) by participating in their service’s physical readiness program each year than are killed (or injured) by smoking.

HondaV65 on July 11, 2009 at 11:50 PM

And how many of those physical readiness deaths can be attributed to arterial construction due to smoking?

My point: you are not describing orthogonal concepts.

FACT: More Military Members die (or are injured) in motorcycle accidents each year than are killed (or injured) by smoking. Hey! Let’s ban soldiers from riding motorcycles! Yay!

But then again, you know that, by your admission that soldiers are killed/injured by smoking.

unclesmrgol on July 12, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Since there is no smoking, I thought the next great idea would be coasters for their canteens. That way they won’t leave a ring, and they can become more girlish that half this country wants them to get.

Jeff from WI on July 12, 2009 at 1:38 PM

I say officially ban smoking, but if they do smoke, don’t ask them whether they are smoking. Equally, they should not admit to smoking since that would violate policy.

They should say “I’m using my inhaler, Sir.

And when they brief them on base rules, they’ll say “This is a non-smoking facility. Cigarette?

virgo on July 12, 2009 at 1:43 PM

Jeff from WI on July 12, 2009 at 1:38 PM

LOL.

What’s next, a vow of chastity?

PattyJ on July 12, 2009 at 2:20 PM

Jeff from WI on July 12, 2009 at 1:38 PM

LOL.

What’s next, a vow of chastity?

PattyJ on July 12, 2009 at 2:20 PM

LOLOL…chastity…lol…sure

Jeff from WI on July 12, 2009 at 3:10 PM

marching…..

I don’t know but I’ve been told…..

Smoke a Camel will get you a sergeants scold…

sound off..

Jeff from WI on July 12, 2009 at 3:12 PM

I’m late to the party, but I’ll add (I’m sure someone already has above) that anyone with a military ID card can buy alcohol cheap, but we don’t hear anything about stopping the drinking culture of the military.

Oh, and I would add that the VA only has to pay for smoking-related health issues if the military member retires (20 years active duty or a medical board retires you). If you get out before your 20 years are up (and the VA hasn’t determined that you’re a disabled vet because of smoking) then you don’t get any care from the VA. Remember that most people who join the military do NOT retire from the military.

mjtyson on July 12, 2009 at 3:13 PM

The DoD should consider levying a health care premium against the basic pay of smoking soldiers as a cost sharing measure for their health care. This would maintain the freedom to choose (as they are fighting for), as well as support personal responsibility for the known health outcomes of the smoking habit. A move like this by the DoD would fundamentally shift the public health debate from one of entitlement, toward one of shared responsibility for unhealthy habits rather than using draconian measures to curb tobacco use.

Ted C,
If someone smokes their whole life, then gets medicare when they turn 65 (60?), aren’t they covered?
If the DoD tried something like that, then you’d have the military members getting cigarettes off base and smoking off base. What’s more, how about the dependents? How about those military members who drink alcohol or buy fatty foods?

There are already rules on the books in some bases. For example, Air Force personnel in technical training can NOT smoke while in uniform, and on most training bases, they cannot smoke at all on the base. I saw this at the last training base I was assigned to. Airmen would walk a mile or more to the nearest gate to smoke a couple cigs (in civilian clothes, of course) and then walk back. So they’re getting some exercise at least!

mjtyson on July 12, 2009 at 3:18 PM

…and it’s hard to levy a health care premium on active duty military when they pay nothing for med care. After all, we were all promised free health care while serving…

mjtyson on July 12, 2009 at 3:19 PM

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