Army’s proposed smoking ban will go up in smoke
Yes, I’m a staunch non-smoker who hates cigarette smoke. I grew up with parents who smoked (both, thankfully, have long-since quit). I have relatives today who smoke. I prefer to avoid smoky houses whenever possible and don’t allow any smoking in my house. My feeling is if a smoker wants to put their own health at risk by smoking, fine. But please don’t subject my health to risk also.
To take things even further, I believe smoking should be banned from restaurants and other indoor public buildings. And if that’s not extreme enough, I don’t think people should smoke in vehicles or houses where they’ll have to subject minors to secondhand smoke.
However, I don’t agree with the Army’s proposal to ban smoking among its service members.
The idea, which I chatted about recently on e-mail with a former high school classmate who’s a smoker, is to make the military as healthy as possible by banning smoking.
One has to wonder if they’ll also ban soldiers from drinking excessively. When I was in the Army from 1996-2000, hardly a Monday went by without some fool talking about some stupid thing he or she did on the weekend while drunk. Some would get so hammered they couldn’t even remember the weekend.
And, yes, if it’s physical fitness the Army’s striving for, one also has to wonder if they’ll start banning desserts and other fattening foods from the mess hall.
The proposed ban is indeed well-intentioned, but one has to wonder how it would be enforced. There were people at basic training (where smoking bas prohibited) who would sneak off and smoke. And when I spent nearly two years as an Initial Entry Trainee at Defense Language Institute in Presidio of Monterey, Calif., and at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, there were lots of soldiers who’d sneak off and smoke despite the ban. Yes, the platoon sergeants almost certainly knew about it. Some would sneak off into the woods while some would simply smoke on the patio outside the barracks facing the woods.
The Army wasn’t enforcing the bans on smoking then, so what makes people think this new ban would be enforced? As the former classmate pointed out, how do we know those in the Brass will give up their cigars?
Seems to me the Army has far more important things to deal with than trying to impose an unenforceable ban. As much of a non-smoker as I am, I never cared about others smoking as long as it didn’t harm my lungs and as long as they didn’t expect me to cover for them.