WASHINGTON — Congressional efforts to limit or even stop men and women in the military from smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products could create a major morale problem for front-line troops.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff see it coming and hope to get out in front of it.
Last week, during the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee hearing on the fiscal 2015 defense budget, the panel’s chairman, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., questioned the discount prices for tobacco products sold within the Defense Department. “We spend $1.6 billion a year on medical care of servicemembers from tobacco-related disease and loss of work,” he said.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, responded, “We’ve asked a lot of our men and women in uniform, and we lead an uncommon life by choice. But all the things you’re talking about are legal, and they are accessible, and anything that makes anything less convenient and more expensive for our men and women in uniform, given everything we’re asking them to do, I’ve got concerns about.” (emphasis mine-XBrad)
First, I’m pretty biased here, as I am a smoker. And I understand that it does add a lot to the costs military health care.
But lets be honest, it’s not a genuine concern for the health and well being of troops that’s motivating Congress here. Dogooders care more about being seen as doing good than actually accomplishing any good. What’s the point of being the moral elite if you cannot force your choices upon the unenlightened serfs?
Of course, it’s only a matter of time before the anti-smoking forces win this victory. And then there’s the Class VI store next…