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Pentagon Maintains War-Zone Smoking

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Despite a recent study commissioned by the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs suggesting a complete ban on tobacco in the military, Defense Secretary Robert Gates will continue to allow tobacco smoking by troops in combat zones, CNN reported July 15.

The study found that troops' tobacco use has negative short- and long-term effects on military readiness and soldiers' health and recommended a complete ban on tobacco sales on military bases and tobacco smoking by uniformed personnel.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said that Gates will not prohibit smoking because the service members in war-zones face extreme pressure already. “The secretary does not want to compound that stress by taking away from [the troops] one of the few outlets they have to relieve that stress,” said Morrell.

Morrell said the defense secretary had not read the report yet.

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