Smoking in the Military

I wanted to start off by saying this.  I am very appreciative for the sacrifice that the millions of veterans and troops have given so that I can enjoy the freedoms I have as an American.  Among those is the freedom to vape…for right now.  The topic has been covered time and time again about recent FDA regulations and the impact it will have on the overall health of our country, especially the people who are trying to quit smoking and not having a safer alternative.

Some people may think that there is a direct correlation with the government having links to big tobacco and lining their wallets with fat wads of cash in exchange for leniency on regulations and giving safe harbor to these products that kill hundreds of thousands of people a year.  While there is no definite proof available to the American public, I would like to present the following bits of information for you to digest.  If you agree, please share this post and help to open the eyes of the American public.

During World War I, tobacco companies looked towards distributing cigarettes to military personal as a way to psychologically handle the traumatic events of warfare.  Even into World War II, several historic photos document the use of cigarettes among personnel on the battlefield and at home.  Cigarette companies would eventually include free cigarettes in rations and encourage people at home to send cigarettes to the troops.  The phrase “smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em” was shortened over time to omit the additional “do pushups if you don’t”.  Often times soldiers would bum cigarettes from others to prevent having to do additional work, and would end up being hooked to tobacco for the rest of their lives.  Cigarettes were no longer included in rations after 1975.

The use of tobacco among military has been significantly higher than that of the American public.  A study in the mid 80s showed a 47% tobacco use among the military versus 30% with the civilians.  The dedicated funding to handle health related issues exceeded $200 million dollars and had called into account the possibility of smoking affecting military “readiness”.

By the early 1990s, the government started initiating several steps to try and curb tobacco use with the end goal of reducing a 52% tobacco use down to 25%.  This included creating non-smoking areas, banning smoking from workplaces, no smoking in government buildings…all things that we see in place today.  This partially worked because smoking use decreased all the way down to 29.9% between 1980 and 1998.  However, smoking started to increase and had been increasing ever since.

During the Gulf War, tobacco companies started taking the initiative to try and get younger military into using their products.  The Department of Defense had a strict no-tobacco policy, but lobbyists worked with smoking friendly politicians to allow cigarettes to be sent to the troops overseas at the governments expense.  Additionally, several goods were distributed (including cards, coozies, magazines) that all used big tobacco advertisement aimed directly at troops and encouraging them to pick up the smoking habit.  All of this using government funding.  From taxpayer dollars.  And the government turned a blind eye and let it happen.

What’s worse is that the Veterans Affairs can reject certain procedures, such as coronary bypass surgery, if the patient cannot stop smoking during a certain period of time prior to the procedure.  Talk to anyone who has been in a high stress situation and tell them to not smoke.  Tell me how that turns out for you….

Do yourself a favor and check out Vape a Vet.  These guys send care packages to our service men and women to keep them off of cigarettes and to switch to a healthier lifestyle.  They are always taking donations, and really put the footwork into making sure that our veterans and military do not succumb to the pressures, health risks, and untimely death due to the use of big tobacco.  I met these guys at VaperSlam and it has changed my life forever.

Until next time guys…vape on!

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