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Soldiers Under Assault for Smoking

WASHINGTON DC -- As if battling the Republican Guard and Iraqi terrorists was not enough, the Pentagon now finds itself ensnarled in the battle for a smoke free humanity as anti-tobacco groups have filed a class action suit to help protect American soldiers on the battlefield.

"The EPA recommends that every company have a smoking policy that effectively protects nonsmokers from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke," said Digby Dalhaber of the Calabash League for an Anti-Smoking Planet. "We think that what's good for the goose is good for the gander and that the soldier's workplace needs to be protected against second hand smoke every bit as much as the waitress down at Stevie Ray's Blues Club."

Second hand smoke, bureaucratically known as Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS), contains more than 4,000 substances, more than 40 of which are known to cause cancer in humans or animals, making it a Group A carcinogen. Passive smoking is estimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to cause approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths in nonsmokers each year.

"It's bad enough that we ever got involved in this trumped up war," said Dalhaber. "There is simply no excuse for exposing our soldiers to completely unnecessary risks."

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman declined to comment on pending litigation, but most military experts agree that enforcing the same workplace rules on the battlefield as a downtown, high-rise office building is impractical.

"Our brave fighting men and women face far more imminent and hazardous dangers on the battlefield than cigarette smoke getting in their eyes," said former Air Force General Thomas McInerney, now an on-air FOX News analyst. "You can't have smoking and nonsmoking foxholes. And certainly designated smoking areas would quickly become prime targets for the enemy."

McInerney postulated that the lawsuit might be politically motivated, but CLAP vows to pursue their lawsuit beyond this fall's Presidential election. The suit also names R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris and the Ligget Group as co-defendants.

"Whatever," commented a spokesman for the maker of Marlboros with a sigh and a tired shrug of his shoulders. "Now that they've found water on Mars, I have no doubt that we will soon be seeing filings on behalf of the red planet."





2004 MFTHPPPGT




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