January 08, 2005


I've never understood the relationship between the Army and smoking. I understand that smoking can alleviate stress, which I suppose is why many people start while they're deployed. But I don't understand how an organization that prides itself on physical fitness can be so full of smokers. But then again, I've never smoked; perhaps I overestimate the effects. Thoughts?

(prompted by this article, only tangentially related)

Posted by: Sarah at 02:15 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 Well, I think the whole smoking/chewing tabacco thing while deployed is a mixture of a few things:1) it is one of the only "luxury" items that they can buy, it's kind of like female soldiers buying nail polish and painting their toe nails...gives you a little sense of normality and being back home and in a bizarre sense, it's almost like spoiling yourself. 2) It is a social habit: they can't drink any alcohol, so they smoke. 3) When they pull guard duty, they need something to do, and something that will keep their attention focused...and nicotin helps. But if it's any consolation, those who picked-up smoking or chewing while deployed have a tendency to kick the habit before they come back.

Posted by: calivalleygirl at January 08, 2005 01:52 PM (KRZ8N)

2 You're in the Army. Tomorrow you might get blown up. Why worry about doing something that _might_ kill you ten _years_ from now?

Posted by: DensityDuck at January 12, 2005 09:56 AM (XiVKO)

3 Another oddity. At least from what I witnessed, smoking seems to be a significantly more prevalent habit among enlisted compared to officers, although tobacco chewing seems to be equally popular in both groups. Don't underestimate nicotine as a stress-reliever and a stay-awake. Stress and the need to stay focused and alert on an irregular schedule are facts of military life. Another benefit of smoking: a stay-warm. I don't smoke and I almost never envy smokers, but in February in Korea, the smokers in my unit sure looked content while my stuff was freezing.

Posted by: Eric at January 17, 2005 01:16 AM (UpA1b)

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