Vaping Soldiers: The Fog of War [UPDATE]

The military and nicotine have a storied past. Since America’s establishment, we’ve been at war, and tobacco has been a staple of our economy. Today, we’ll take a look at the history of tobacco in the military, and address some of the obstacles vaping soldiers currently face.

Tobacco and American War:

It is hard to imagine an American war without the presence of tobacco. During the American Revolution in 1776, tobacco sales offset the loans to France and financed the war effort. The Civil War took place over expanses of tobacco country; Union and Confederate soldiers alike used tobacco. Ulysses S. Grant was famous for his love of cigars.

It wasn’t until World War I that tobacco and war became unshakably intertwined. Cigarettes became part of the iconic image of the American soldier, due to massive campaigns from tobacco companies. Smoking reached its peak during World War II, when cigarettes were sent to soldiers for free, and eventually wound up in their rations. Drill Sergeants were known to announce, “smoke ’em if you got ’em, do pushups if you don’t”, when soldiers were allowed to break. You can imagine how cigarette use flourished in this culture.

In 1975, the United States discontinued cigarettes in rations. Since then, the United States Department of Defense has made efforts to curb military smoking, for its negative health consequences and peripheral costs. Notably, the USS George Washington (CVN-73) endured serious damage caused by unauthorized smoking and improper storage of chemicals in 2008.

Vaping in the Military:

We’ve heard a lot from soldiers in regards to vaping. When a vaping soldier is sent overseas, or off to a remote American location for operations, getting e-juice can be impossible. Vape shops may be plentiful in urban American environments, but they disappear quickly in lower population densities and exotic locations.

Until vaping has established a global presence, vaping soldiers will have a rough time. A soldier who has made the switch to vaping is likely to run out of e-juice and face the temptation of tobacco.

It is likely the United States Military will become more lenient on subjects of vaping. Tobacco use has been progressively restricted, and since the FDA has classified vaping as a “tobacco product” for its common ingredient of nicotine, it is likely we will see a tightening leash.

Mt Baker Vapor proudly sent care packages to the troops (before the FDA prohibited the act), and works closely with the Vape A Vet organization. We also carry e-juice from #TAGSUP, who contribute a portion of their sales to the Vaping Militia!

If we want to turn the tide and make it easier for troops to get vaping supplies, we need to remove hurtful stigma from the hobby. Protest any and all anti-vaping propaganda, contact your congressmen, and contribute to the Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition to make an impact on the vaping rights of the troops.

Be sure to honor the fallen soldiers on Veteran’s Day. The sacrifices made by the armed forces have forged the lives we enjoy today, and they deserve your undying respect. Always remember that we, the vapers, are waging a war at home: our right to vape is under attack. Take action to keep vaping in the lives of our troops and civilians alike!


Tim Mechling

Tim is Mt Baker Vapor's resident creative weirdo. He writes, composes music, draws, designs, produces podcasts, investigates, and blows the trumpet for the Common Man.

  • Matt says:

    Another great blog by MBV

  • ER says:

    Sadly we’re now banished to the smoking pit with all the other smokers now.

  • Sher says:

    Unless it proven that vaping is completely safe, everyone will treat it like smoking tobacco. It doesn’t bother me that much, as long as I know that I feel better by not smoking.

    • Josh Hanna says:

      This is true. I get told no smoking or they walk by and start coughing at me. I am just like, uh huh sure… lol

  • Ken C says:

    If I were deployed I would probably keep a couple bottles of juice that were 2 or maybe 3 times the nic level I usually vape. And I would just hit it less often (no chain vaping). That way the juice would last longer as well as the batteries.

  • JD says:

    My best friend is in the Marine Corp and he is currently stationed abroad. He is a regular chewing tobacco user, and would love to quit, but we all know the evil nic beast won’t let that happen. But he seems to not want to Vape due to his reputation being degraded as this same assumption falls on all of our shoulders. If they were to get over this bail of stupidity, I believe he would make the switch!

    • Josh Hanna says:

      Vaping degrades reputation? There are some of us out there that give all us a bad image but there are a ton of soldiers that I work with that vape. We send care packages to them all the time. If he ever changes his mind, send him our way and we can help him out 🙂

    • Nathan says:

      I too vape, but at work, since I use to dip rather than smoke, I have to curb the vaping. I use a product called “smokey Mountain” dip. Its no Nic, no tobacco. Granted that’s what he likes in the dipping but if he’s trying to quit its an extremely good alternative. The rest of them suck. I use the wintergreen and it seriously is just as good as Copenhagen Wingrn. ( I showed it to dippers and they agreed). Off work I vape most of the time.

  • mhikl says:

    Ugh, the dicey affairs of government. Making lots of loot from the tobacco industry, government plays along. Not making so much, then the barriers are risen.
    The government is supported by the people, supposedly elected by the people and is expected to be answerable to the people. Me thinks the government needs to learn some respect for the people. But the less respect the people give to government, the better. Laws need to be made and enforced to jail (for eternity) the elected official who fails in his/her duty to protect the people. And government pensions need to be tied to the average pension of the working class.
    Namaste and care,

    • Ted Marple says:

      The government everywhere needs to be reminded daily that they work FOR us! I remember when the government lived by “government for the people by the people”.

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