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Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 28, 2009

In true bureaucratic fashion, the Pentagon is considering a move that would prohibit members of the military from smoking. All of them. Everywhere.

It would be a great boon for the health of all military members, but it would be a huge mistake in thinking they could make it happen without a colossal disruption. …

Not that it wouldn’t be hugely beneficial for members of the military to quit smoking and using other tobacco products. The health problems caused by tobacco are well documented. These problems are even worse in the military than the general population because so many more members of the military smoke or chew.

Getting soldiers off tobacco would not only save lives and reduce serious illness — it would save taxpayers endless millions by reducing the cost of health care for members of the military and veterans.

But ending tobacco use for the military must mirror programs used for the general public. Prohibition only leads to scofflaws and other problems. A concerted effort to limit tobacco use and boost other anti-smoking efforts have been the most successful in the private sector, and it will be the most successful for the military as well.

— Aurora (Colo.) Sentinel