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US to Ban Smoking in the Military

|Includes: Altria Group, Inc. (MO)

OK, I’m going to have to come down hard on this one. The administration is proposing banning smoking in the military. About time! The Pentagon spends $846 million a year on cigarettes, and another $6 billion treating smoking related diseases. I became a cigarette addict myself when the military gave me all the free “coffin nails” I wanted in Southeast Asia 35 years ago, and it took me ten years to kick the nasty habit. Some 59,000 men died in Vietnam, and I’m sure many more than that died from the lung cancer that followed. Few people know that the Bureau of Prisons banned smoking three years ago, precisely to reduce spiraling health care costs. The riots that followed went unreported. The military in fact banned obesity 30 years ago. If a soldier is over his benchmark weight, his pay gets docked, and if he doesn’t go on a diet, he gets kicked out on a medical. While they’re at it, they should stop giving combat soldiers and pilots amphetamines. Is it any coincidence that the meth disaster that is unfolding in the Midwest coincided with the return from Iraq of thousands of troops? Not good for Altria (NYSE:MO).