Posts tagged ‘iraq’

Premium Cigar Group Concerned for Right to Smoke in Military

Predjudice in the military? This one’s for you, C.J.

Premium Cigar Group Concerned for Right to Smoke in Military

IPCPR Not Taking Any Chances
Washington, D.C. 7/17/2009 12:21 AM GMT (TransWorldNews)

Although the Department of Defense is considering phasing in a ban on tobacco use in the military over as many as 20 years, The Pentagon reassured troops this week that it won’t ban tobacco products in war zones, according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ press secretary Geoff Morrell. But the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association isn’t taking any chances.

“This comes down to personal choice and the pleasure of enjoying tobacco – especially good cigars and pipe tobacco – and the individual rights for which our military are fighting,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR. His group’s members include more than 2,000 small business owners of smoke shops and manufacturers and distributors of hand-made cigars, pipes and pipe tobacco. They represent some five percent of the tobacco industry.

“IPCPR members regularly send supplies of hand-made cigars to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to enjoy during their moments of relaxation. If anyone has earned the right to such pleasures, it’s our troops, especially those in combat,” he said.

McCalla pointed out that most people have had the image of officers smoking cigars but that cigars are enjoyed by all strata of military personnel, not unlike civilians.

Sean Smith/The Guardian – Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, smoking a pipe, and his fellow soldiers man an observation post above the base they were building for Afghan national security forces in Afghanistan this past spring.

“Smoking throughout the ranks is not restricted to one level or another, nor should it be. Whether they are Generals or privates and airmen, Admirals or seamen, they all have equal rights to enjoy a legal product,” McCalla said.

The IPCPR isn’t waiting 20 years before it begins its fight for the rights of military personnel to enjoy tobacco, he explained.

“We let the anti-tobacco forces get away with spreading a lot of misinformation about smoking and secondhand smoke over the last two decades. Much of their so-called research is highly questionable and their conclusions are particularly biased. As a result, smoking bans have spread unfairly. We’re not going to let that happen by default in the military,” he said.

McCalla emphasized that individual rights are attacked every time there is a legislated smoking ban.

“Each smoking ban chips away at our individual rights which leads to loss of other rights, whether or not we smoke cigarettes, premium cigars or use other tobacco products. It’s a right of choice and we are all affected,” he said.


Thinking About War

I grew up with the Vietnam war on television as a child. It was on the news every night; body counts, politicians, soldiers going to war, scenes of combat. I was very young then, and I remember my grandmother crying when I asked her when I would have to go too. I didn’t know any better. I thought you grew up, then went to the war. That was just the way it was supposed to be. I was maybe 6 in 1969 when I asked her. It seemed endless, to me, to friends and family.

I wonder how many children are thinking the same thing now, growing up with the Iraq war on their television sets every night.