Why are men and women smoking cigarettes while serving in the military?

Monday, October 29, 2012 by: S. D. Wells
Tags: cigarettes, military, smoking

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(NaturalNews) The following is a recent interview with retired Navy Commander Donald E. Minnich, who smoked during service for 20 years, and who served in three wars, including WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

Reporter: "So you were in WWII and you smoked? When did you actually start smoking?"

CDR Minnich: "I served in WWII, at the end, aboard the U.S.S. Pine Island (AV12) in Antarctica, in 1946. I started smoking before I joined the Navy at age 17. At enlistment, I was up to about half a pack a day - they were Camels. In Hawaii, around 1951 - 1952, I quit cold turkey, mainly because I was on the swim team and going to the gym. In 1955, though, I began again, and increased how many I smoked due to my stressful job in engineering - running the plant on the ship. Over time, I was on three different destroyers, and got up to smoking two packs a day."

Reporter: "And how about when you were in Korea and Vietnam?"

CDR Minnich: "I was in Korea around 1950, on a ship headed to the Philippines. I got stationed at the American Embassy. I was smoking a pack a day then - Camels, no filters. I was then stationedon USS Genesee, a gas tanker, which had a crew of about 80, of whom at least 60 percent smoked, and they were all pack-a-day smokers. Smoking was never allowed on deck, only inside. I was commissioned (as officer) in 1955.

I quit smoking in 1963 in Washington, D.C., while on shore duty. At that time I was smoking two and a half packs a day, but I quit cold turkey. After that, I never smoked again."

Reporter: "What about smoking on the ship and on land, isn't it a hazard that would give away position, from the heat, the smoke, the light from the lit end?"

CDR Minnich: "The Navy has what is called a 'smoking lamp,' which signifies when the crew can smoke and when they cannot.

Reporter: "How do the military get their cigarettes?"

CDR Minnich: "Oh, well, cigarettes are pretty easy to come by, I mean, they're at the bases, at ports and in towns, where they were pretty cheap, and just about everywhere."

Dangers and statistics

Let's reflect on that conversation and the medical tribulations of serving and smoking in today's wars. If the commanders and other leaders don't mind, and they can smoke themselves, does that make it okay? One cold, hard fact is that quitting smoking before the mid 1960s was much, much easier than it is today. Cigarettes are juiced up with ammonia now to make the nicotine up to 35 times as strong and addictive. This is the major "toasty vapor" hook that sucks "ex-smokers" back in when they try to quit cold turkey nowadays. (

Active duty military personnel smoke at much higher rates than the general population: 32 percent compared to 21 percent, respectively.

Smoking compromises troop readiness.

Smoking imposes high health costs for Dept. of Defense and the Veterans Affairs.

Smoking is one of the best predictors of military training failure, especially during fitness evaluations.

Smokers are more likely to sustain injuries, especially musculoskeletal ones.

Smokers increase their stress instead of decreasing it by lighting up. Surprise!

It lowers visual acuity and night vision.

It decreases cognitive ability and impairs respiratory function which in turn affects aviation performance and diving.

2005 Military smokers by branch

Army: 38 percent smoke regularly, but 15 percent are considered "heavy" smokers*.
Navy: 32 percent regulars and nine percent heavy.
Marines: 30 percent regulars and almost 10 percent heavy.
Air Force: 25 percent regulars and almost eight percent heavy.
*(heavy smokers were tallied at a pack-a-day or more).

Rates were nearly double that for deployed service members in Iraq, and are probably similar for those in Afghanistan. (

Every cigarette smoked imposes serious dangers

One cigarette always turns into more and more. It almost always starts as, "Can I bum a cig." Then, within in a few months or a year, it's a pack a day.

Let's just look at the most serious ways cigarettes endanger the military, their job, and those serving around them:

Many necessary and vital abilities are compromised, not to mention general health. (

Cigarettes are detrimental to cardio: Long distance biking and leg workouts become seriously compromised.

Cigarettes compromise rescue abilities, long distance swimming, treading water, holding breath under water, long distance "ruck" marches with 25 to 100 pounds of equipment and weaponry, especially up hills.

It's very dangers to light up during night watch, giving away position with the heat, the smoke, and the light.

If you have a panic disorder, statistics show that you're MORE LIKELY to smoke cigarettes. Mixing anti-anxiety, anti-depression and PTSD medications with cigarettes can be lethal. This compounds the issues beyond belief. In their attempt to "manage negative feelings," the military are creating a montage of new ones by ingesting ammonia, bleach, pesticide, formaldehyde, and chemical coated tar. (

The added stress of serving multiple tours of duty in the Middle East is compounded by repeat cigarette use.

Does the U.S. Military policy encourage smoking cigarettes?

Statistics show that many of the tobacco users in the military DID NOT SMOKE before they entered the service. Over 40 percent surveyed said cigarettes are available at installations. This costs the Dept. of Defense about 1.6 BILLION DOLLARS per year for extra medical care, hospitalization and lost days of work.

Dragging "once in a while" smokers into the "pack-a-day misery" is big business. Do you think Big Tobacco cares if you're in the military or not? Do you think Big Tobacco cares if you're 17 years old or 50? Do you think Marlboro, Camel, Winston and Merit care if you're serving in the Middle East and you can't quit smoking cigarettes? They're too busy making money, not saving lives. Big Tobacco has been engaged in unethical marketing for decades. Joe Camel was marketed at kids. Doctors used to recommend Camel cigarettes in 1930s advertisements.

What happens when you mix 4,000 chemicals with PRESCRIPTION medication? What happens when the ammonia and the pesticide mix with medications? Do they sweat out those toxins during the most serious "fight or flight" situations? Aren't those toxins swimming around in their blood, affecting moods, thought, and motivation during situations which require the ultimate mental clarity? You bet they are. (

In fact, use of prescription "psychotropics" has skyrocketed among U.S. military personnel in recent years, according to an investigation by Military Times.

At least 17 percent of active-duty military personnel are currently taking an antidepressant, including as many as six percent of all deployed troops. (

50 percent of smokers want to quit but don't know how. So many smokers want to quit, and are ready to quit, but have no idea how. You can make up your mind you want to climb a mountain, but without the gear and the guidance, good luck.

Quitting the third most powerful drug addiction in the world requires help for more than 95 percent of smokers. Only five percent on average can quit cold turkey and stick it out more than six months. That is a fact. Even the programs offered by many hospitals do not address the secret to staying off cigarettes longer than six months. Many of those programs require four weeks of classes, which just isn't very feasible. ( Plus, medications like Chantix and Zyban are very dangerous because they not only block the brain's receptors to nicotine, but they also block dopamine, which the central nervous system needs for "fight or flight" hormones to work properly. This is why "feelings of suicide" and "suicide" are listed as "side effects" of these cessation pills. Compound all that with PTSD and what do you have?

14AndOut; the ULTIMATE PROGRAM to get "unhooked"

Instead of increasing anxiety and health dangers, let's move towards better health, safety and livelihood. The Health Ranger, Mike Adams, recommends 14AndOut to military smokers who want to quit. (

is an all natural program that teaches the smoker how to wean his or herself off cigarettes in 14 days or fewer. It requires absolutely no medication and no hypnosis. Best of all, it addresses behavior modification, chemicals and nutrition in a 60 minute VIDEO DOWNLOAD which comes with a viewable/printable nutritional guide. This program is comprehensive and has a phenomenal 90 percent success rate. Testimonials are pouring in to prove it.

Attention U.S. Military; there is a sensible way to quit smoking and keep chemicals out of your body and your mind. (

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