Non-smoker, here. Former three pack a day guy for 10 years, and decades smoking a pipe. I loved every minute of it and only gave up the habit because I thought I had to, and I still do. I worked for a long time on locked psyche units where an amazing amount of time and energy on everybody's part went into issues around coffee and cigarettes. I'm aware of the Freudian interpretations around that stuff, about oral dependency, and I even have a fair amount of agreement with it. But I also, like Freud himself, say so what! Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Or a cigarette is just a cigarette, or a cup of coffee is just a cup of coffee. Reductionistic thinking only gets you so far.
I hated getting between anybody and their smokes, even those whose smokes were graphically and obviously killing them in front of your eyes. I drew the line at lighting smokes for folks who were on oxygen. I thought that the explosion might take a bunch of others with the smoker, and I wasn't up for that. Sometimes I couldn't bear to light smokes for people who were in the middle of dying from them, too. Choice is choice for them; but I had to live with myself afterward.
The risk of fire was always high. You can forget when you're out in the day to day world that when you say, "Are you crazy/i]?" that the question is rhetorical.
So, one of the things that crossed my mind right off the bat, immediately after wincing at the administrative gall of depriving so many people of one more civil liberty — already in somewhat restricted supply in the military — was the thought that the people who were thinking this restriction into effect must themselves be maniacs. They want to take cigarettes from close to a hundred thousand [i]armed people, put them into withdrawal all at once, and then expect what? Happy play-groups to form?
Goodness gracious! Me, oh my!
The trouble with Al Qaeda wouldn't even appear on the radar for months and months. The military would be otherwise concerned. And then they would have created a whole new criminal black market within the military itself.
I'm happy to say that this is one idea that didn't get off the ground.
If you actually want a non smoking army, offer a hundred dollar a month bonus for folks who offer a hair sample or a blood sample every so often. If it's nicotine level is at the proper level, you get the bonus, if not, you don't. Troops will spend lots of free time trying to figure ways around it, which is part of what troops are supposed to do, and part of what noncoms glory in mastering, but the number of smokers will go down if they do that and increase the amount of running required.
Just a thought.