Proposed Military Tobacco Ban Sparks Heated Debate - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Proposed Military Tobacco Ban Sparks Heated Debate

Posted: Updated:
  • CBS19.tv Web ExclusivesMore>>

  • Web Exclusive: Ultra HD TVs

    Web Exclusive: Ultra HD TVs

    (CNN) -Some people just have to have the latest in television technology. The newest TVs on the market- ultra-high definition TVs- or UHD TVs. They have higher screen resolution than current high def screens, and are also known as "4-K" sets. "More >>
    (CNN) -Some people just have to have the latest in television technology. The newest TVs on the market- ultra-high definition TVs- or UHD TVs. They have higher screen resolution than current high def screens, and are also known as "4-K" sets. "More >>
  • Web Exclusive: A product to help keep sharks away on sale

    Web Exclusive: A product to help keep sharks away on sale

    Monday, July 28 2014 9:40 AM EDT2014-07-28 13:40:46 GMT
    If you're headed on a beach vacation, there's a product you may be interested in to help keep sharks away.  The device is called a Shark Shield.  It is now being sold in Florida.More >>
    If you're headed on a beach vacation, there's a product you may be interested in to help keep sharks away.  The device is called a Shark Shield.  It is now being sold in Florida.More >>
  • Web Exclusive: Back to School costs really add up

    Web Exclusive: Back to School costs really add up

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:14 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:14:59 GMT
    Before you know it, fall will be here and it will be time to go back to school.  For parents that means stocking up on notebooks, number two pencils, and back to school clothes, all of which usually take a big chunk out of a family's budget.  So, just how much do parents will pay to send their kids off to school this year?More >>
    Before you know it, fall will be here and it will be time to go back to school.  For parents that means stocking up on notebooks, number two pencils, and back to school clothes, all of which usually take a big chunk out of a family's budget.  So, just how much do parents will pay to send their kids off to school this year?More >>
(KCEN) -- A new Pentagon report urges the Defense Department to ban or limit smoking and tobacco use in the military.

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee took the issue up on June 18, as part of the 2015 budget request.

Members who support the proposal don’t want to promote smoking among troops by giving them tax breaks and discounts on tobacco products.

They also want to cut back on the $1.6 billion spent annually to care for military members living with tobacco-related illnesses.

The discussion has some in Fort Hood’s military community fuming.

“Cigarettes were an escape,” says Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait veteran Tal Clayter.

As recent as 1975, soldiers, like Army veteran Bill Cooper, were given cigarettes by the military with food rations.

Cooper says, “Tobacco is a legal product, and if you choose to smoke, you should be allowed to smoke."

Clayter only lit up in stressful combat situations.

There is no relaxing with a cold beer when lives are at risk.

”Meantime, you have no contact with family members or people that you can talk to,” Clayter says.

Clayter spends his days pitching in at the Harker Heights American Legion right outside of Ft Hood and estimates that about 85 percent of the service members who come through are smokers.

As a physician, former military doctor Colonel Retired Roy Marokus, MD, MPH, has seen smoking's ugly side.

“It’s hard, because basically, you're having to deal with people you know are going to die,” Dr. Marokus says.

Smoking can cause esophagus, lung, nose and throat cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, and more.

While he’s seen the harmful health effects of tobacco, Marokus also felt nicotine’s relief while in combat overseas.

“You might not live the next day. Ok, I got it, and I did it,” Marokus says.

But barring those with post traumatic stress, he says it is too dangerous as a frivolous, stateside habit.

“It's got too many risk factors associated with it,” Marokus says.

Dr. Marokus has seen patients find victory in smoking cessation classes, group therapy and support, family support and some medications.

Cold turkey, he says, only works for some.

“But you have to give it a try by turning it off. I've seen success stories. It is possible,” says Marokus.

Still, it’s a decision Clayter says shouldn't be mandated.

“You take away another right that a fighting man should have,” Clayter says.

Some who started smoking just always kept picking it up.

Cooper says, “I agree it's unhealthy. It's an addiction is what it is, and I wished I had never smoked, but I just don't believe in telling a person they can't."

So, now the question is whether anyone should tell the ones putting their lives on the line for their country to put it down.

Reporter: Sophia Stamas sstamas@kcentv.com

Click for Local Doppler Radar
Powered by WorldNow

CBS19, MYTX & KCEB
2211 ESE Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75701
Phone (903) 581-2211
Fax (903) 581-5769

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KYTX. All Rights Reserved. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service, Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights, and Ad Choices.