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!