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Military Cracks Down on Free Cigarettes for Servicemen

Oct. 6, 1962 - The Air Force Surgeon General’s office has ordered Air Force hospitals and clinics to stop distributing free cigarettes to patients. A similar prohibition has been ordered on the inclusion of cigarettes in the packaged lunches that are prepared for service personnel on long flights. Maj. Gen. R.L. Bohannon (pictured), the deputy Surgeon General, said that the “ever-increasing evidence” of a link between cigarette smoking and cancer and certain other diseases “no longer can be ignored.” The order was distributed to “all major air commands.” Welfare groups and cigarette companies have also been told that gift offerings of cigarettes can no longer be accepted. The Surgeon General’s directive appears to be the first direct action against cigarette smoking by any agency of the Government. The Public Health Service has argued for years, however, that there is evidence of a link between cigarette smoking and certain diseases. An Army spokesman said that the Army had not taken similar action against cigarette smoking, nor has the Navy or Marine Corps taken action.

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