The Pentagon says it won't ban smoking by troops in war zones, despite a recent study recommending a tobacco-free military.
Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell says troops already are under enough stress and making enough sacrifices in fighting the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And he says Defense Secretary Robert Gates doesn't want to do add to that stress by taking away one of the few outlets they have to relieve it.
But Morrell says Gates will look at the study to see what other things can be done to move toward a goal of a tobacco-free force.
An advocacy group, however, is strongly condemning the push by Pentagon health experts to ban the use of tobacco by troops and end sales of tobacco products on military property. Brian Wise, executive director of Military Families United, decried even the discussion of such a ban.
"With all the issues facing our military today and the risks our troops take to protect our freedom, banning smoking should not even be on the radar screen," Wise said in a written statement Wednesday.
"Nobody doubts the effects of smoking, but it is not an illegal substance and should not be banned," he said. "Our troops make enough sacrifices to serve our nation. They give up many of the freedoms civilians enjoy already without being told they cannot partake in yet another otherwise legal activity. Perhaps more than anything, smoking in the field is more about comfort and coping with an often hostile environment."
Story continues here: Pentagon Says No to Ban on War Zone Smoking Despite Study Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell says troops already are under enough stress and making enough sacrifices from fighting the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.