Sometimes, fresh ideas pop up that make the gaming crowd go, "…huh?"

It seems the rate of tobacco use amongst soldiers in the US Army is rising, and therefore, it has been suggested that a researcher from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center create a video game to battle this unfortunate increase. They have a budget of $3.7 million to create the game and Alexander Prokhorov, MD, PhD, and professor in M.D. Anderson's behavioral science department, is already working on it. He said:

"The tobacco use rates in the Army are alarming – 38 percent of service members smoke cigarettes and 15 percent use smokeless tobacco. Wars boosted the use of tobacco. Research shows tobacco use in the military increased during World War II…Tobacco is typically regarded by young people as a dull subject. The video game-based education program is anything but boring. It provides a highly interactive, engaging and exciting experience."

It's an intriguing idea and of course, the good doctor reminds us all that tobacco "may increase fatigue, dull the senses and cause shortness of breath." The game will be called Project Combat and 2,000 troops in Fort Hood, Texas will be the first to test it out. And believe it or not, this will be the second title based on this very concept; Prokhorov already made Escape with Your Life . As for Project Combat , it will "feature animation, audio, video and interactive activities that provide facts about smoking and tobacco use, as well as a customized Avatar." Players will go through several scenarios that include resisting peer pressure and dealing with withdrawal symptoms.

Well, it seems games are being used in a variety of ways; ways we could never have imagined.

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Danny007
Danny007
12 years ago

Good idea to stop the use, but why the hell is tobacco use among our soldiers on a rise in the first place?

b3mike
b3mike
12 years ago

Test the waters, go on a 3 year tour and you'll see

Gregory Freeman
Gregory Freeman
12 years ago

get rid of cigs 4 soldiers, how are they going 2 relieve stress…

i think if i'm risking my life every second for what? a 4 year term or something??? i would definitely NEED A SMOKE now and then, and by that i mean a carton a day…

if im gonna die, i should be able to smoke cigarettes… better than weed or booz… Cigs won't impair my ability to fill Ahmed the Suicide Terrorist with lead, right??

b3mike
b3mike
12 years ago

canuck

I totally know where you're coming from. I used to smoke a pack at least once every other day.

bridgera
bridgera
12 years ago

In the units I was in, the smoking rate was 50%+. In some of the military schools I went to it was 75%+. In 72F school, 5 out of 6 of the class smoked. I was the 1 guy that didn't.

It was a pain in the a$$ to do anything fun on the weekends because you had to deal with people wanting to take off for 15 minutes to go smoke every hour or so.

Also, I don't think a video game is going to stop soldiers from smoking.

Jawknee
Jawknee
12 years ago

What they need to do it stop subsidizing tabacco products and falsey bring down the price.

CONTRABAND
CONTRABAND
12 years ago

this is just an idea but insted of spending $3.7 million just stop them from smoking, seeing as how they have to do what they are told just tell them they cant smoke anymore, if they are busted smoking, they deal with an MP and get in trouble… hows that i just saved the tax payers $3.7 million

bridgera
bridgera
12 years ago

That reminds me when our Mormon commander said "no drinking". He tried forcing his personal beliefs on us and denied us the rights that an average citizen had.

At the time, I didn't even drink, I was pissed at the commander for treating me like a little kid.

The end result was that it killed moral and lowered people's performance. Rather than concentrating on their jobs, people just wanted to be pissed at the commander.

Personal beliefs have no place being orders. That type of mentality was ultimately why I quit the army.

NiteKrawler
NiteKrawler
12 years ago

Well, like it or not, the military is a job. How many people do you know are allowed to smoke on the job? Really, it is a question of safety also. I don't want the protectors of my country running for 15 feet and then stopping to hack up a lung. My tax dollars go into training these people to a great degree of physical discipline, and I don't like that smoking is taking it away. And now my money is going to a game that will try to stop them from smoking which they shouldn't be able to do in the first place?

bridgera
bridgera
12 years ago

As far as smoking on the job, at least in my experience, most soldiers don't. Now people do have breaks, smokers and nonsmokers, and they can drink a pop or cigarrette or whatever. By the OP's standards, soldiers couldn't even smoke off duty or on leave. To my understanding that was the focus of the conversation.

If it's their short term physical fitness your worried about, most of the people smoking can pass the PT exam. There is a world of difference between a smoker that does PT everyday and one that doesn't, so you don't have to worry about them hacking up a lung.

If you are worried about what your getting for your tax dollars, if you treat them as actual people, and not as slaves who have no rights, they'll do a far better job for you.

Sure you'll get a few bad eggs, and those need to be handled, but the methods that the OP advocated for are not going to get you the end results you want.

CONTRABAND
CONTRABAND
12 years ago

for me i was mostly just trying to say i really wish they wouldn't spent the cash on this.

NiteKrawler
NiteKrawler
12 years ago

Apparently, my belief that Americans think they should be able to do whatever they want to do is well founded. I knew that in saying that they "shouldn't be able to smoke" would warrant a few thumbs down. America needs to grow up and fast. Our military is the only thing we have going for ourselves and down the road if this smoking business keeps up, we could be in trouble. I don't care how much exercise our troops get because when they smoke, they aren't performing at their peak. Really, the government telling someone that they can't smoke while being in the military shouldn't be seen as taking away that person's rights. That's just the classical American "I do what I want to do and no one can say otherwise" mentality that makes other nations hate us so much. I'd rather our soldiers just be left to do what they want instead of spending this much money that will probably have little, if any, effect. You make good points though bridgera. I guess it just depends on how you look at it.

PS3addict
PS3addict
12 years ago

Ok, I agree that spending money on this is stupid, but telling our military you can not smoke???
Have you ever had bullets fly at your skull while carrying a 120lb rucksack? Anyone piping in and stating that soldiers should not be allowed a stress releiver (Very little of them to be had on a mission) should get a taste of what war is like or just [email protected] off!! I watched my buddy twitch to death after a sniper removed his helmet for him. I have guided copperheads into populated homes on orders, I have called fire from the airforce onto "Suspected Targets" so don't you tell me I can't have a smoke afterwords bud!

bridgera
bridgera
12 years ago

Nite I do think this is one of the issues that to fully appreciate, you do need to walk 5 miles in someone else's shoes.

It's not a "americans can do whatever they want" mentality, it's a "if a citizen can do it, a soldier should be able to do it" mentality. If a citizen can do it, but a soldier can't, there had better be a very good reason for it.

A soldier, especially one that is deployed, can't do the following:

– can't go see his family/friends when he wants for long periods of time
– can't willfully quit his job at any given time (stoploss)
– can't deny lawful orders
– can't deny lawful stupid orders
– gets put on standby for months on end
– has his life legitimately threatened

Most of those things have very good reasons, some of those are just a consequence of a good reason. I can't tell you how many times I had to move boxes back and forth all day because a superior thought it was "good training" or "keeping us busy". We got screwed with a lot.

Now when they get really pressured, taking away something small that may seem insignificant, such as smoking, becomes the straw on the camel's back that makes the camel flip the hell out, dump the stuff on his back, and run rampantly damaging nearby stuff.

It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it's important to many of the soldiers I've worked with. If it keeps them from flipping out, and the only consequence is that now they run a 14 minute 2 mile instead of a 13 minute 2 mile, screw it, let them have it.

If someone's really overdoing the smoking, it usually does get handled.


Last edited by bridgera on 7/13/2009 2:53:18 PM

NiteKrawler
NiteKrawler
12 years ago

Smoking is not the only stress reliever out there. The military is not your normal run of the mill job. Soldiers are held at a higher standard than civilians. That's why they get guns and boom booms. Really, saying that soldiers are held at a higher standard means dick though because they don't get paid right at all. That's one reason that I would say, go ahead and smoke. Why would soldiers want to comply with something like that when they get paid virtually nothing? Again, I don't know if my opinion is right, and I certainly don't know what a soldier goes through on a day to day basis so if you want to shut my opinion out because of that, then go ahead. I'd really like a bit of research done on the effects smoking has on our troops. If the effect is noticeable enough, then it should be banned. If not, then let them do it. I don't think any of us have enough information to make an accurate assessment of the situation as of now. One thing I do know, we need to pay our soldiers better. We need to generally treat them much much better than we do now, during AND after employment. If it weren't for them, we'd all be brown bread.

P.S. PS3addict, sorry about your friend.

PS3addict
PS3addict
12 years ago

@ NiteKrawler

Ok, lets review stress relivers available to me when I was behind enemy lines, This is me personally, so other soldiers may have had other options:

1) Alchohol… Nope
2) Dope… Never
3) Sex…Nope
4) Exercise.. Fack, we do that every morning and are still stressed, so Nope.
5) video games…Nope (while on mission)
6) books…only in the daytime and that is when you are trying to catch some z's out of the heat, and prepping your weapons and gear for the night ahead…110 degrees on the top of a mountain sucks!
7) Smoking…. Yes! You get a mildly euphoric high. No smoking during night missions, Daylight is OK, and hot damb! it relaxes you!!!!
8) Dipping tobacco…Yes, same as above but you can do this at night.
9) Snuff… Yep same as 8
10) Chew.. Yep same as 8
I do not think I am missing anything here, so it looks like tobacco was the only real stress releiver available while out on a mission…

Appreciate the comment about my bud, but he died doing what we were paid to do.

We were DICK's (Dedicated Individuals Committed to Killing) and we accepted that the chances of dying went with the job.

Yes the pay sucked but at the end of my tour when I got home and hugged my kids and knew that they were safe and I contributed to that, it really was worth it in the end.


Last edited by PS3addict on 7/14/2009 11:57:50 AM

tes37
tes37
12 years ago

If they really wanted US Soldiers to quit smoking then they should focus on everyone and not just the soldiers. The solution is simple, stop selling the crap. I am a smoker and the easiest way for me or anyone to quit is for the government to take tobacco off the market, and that's not going to happen. The government says removing tobacco is cruel and unusual punishment for those who are addicted, but the truth is they don't want to lose all the tax money they make off of it.

Jiggy
Jiggy
12 years ago

That's why the government should raise the price even higher. People smoke cause they are addicted. Addicts will pay anything to get what they want. Make it, oh lets say, $10 for a pack. Hey, that might even get the US out of debt!…very unlikely

Also, they should make weed legal and tax the sh!t out of it. I don't smoke anything but I know A LOT of people that do.

bridgera
bridgera
12 years ago

"I am a smoker and the easiest way for me or anyone to quit is for the government to take tobacco off the market"

You quiting smoking isn't someone else's responsiblity, it's yours.

tes37
tes37
12 years ago

@ bridgera

I don't recall saying it's another's responsibility. The article above sounds like it's saying the government seems to be interested in that responsibility and a video game is a ridiculous way to go about it.

Jawknee
Jawknee
12 years ago

Eeh, jiggy, except the government doesn't set the prices nor should they. If people want to smoke that no one elses business but their own. Governments job is to protect us from foriegn invaders not wipe our asses, tuck us In at night and tells us what we can and can't do with our own bodies. The only way te government can do anything to increase price is to stop subsidizing it. A pack of cigs is cheaper on a base then it is in a gas stations. Tabacco is in the pentgons budget and it's made cheaper as a resault. Kill two birds with one stone. Save tax payers money while allowing to market to adjust the price by eliminating the subsidies.

bridgera
bridgera
12 years ago

As far as the video game idea about smoking, I agree with you, it's ridiculous.

Maybe I simply misunderstood your other comment.

"I am a smoker and the easiest way for me or anyone to quit is for the government to take tobacco off the market"

Please explain to me how saying someone else should doing something (such as passing a law) reflects your responsiblity to quit smoking.

tes37
tes37
12 years ago

@ bridgera

I didn't say I was trying to quit or that it's the government's responsibility to help me if I were trying. I used myself as an example.

I think you missed my point. I am a smoker and I drew off of my experience from smoking that the only way to rid most people of the habit is to do away with tobacco.


Last edited by tes37 on 7/11/2009 5:48:49 PM

Gregory Freeman
Gregory Freeman
12 years ago

tes, it seems not many understand what you're saying…

basically, he's saying if it's not there, no one will buy it, hence everyone will quit…. there ENTIRE PROBLEM SOLVED, CANCER RATES LOWER, ETC….

NiteKrawler
NiteKrawler
12 years ago

The government won't ban tobacco, too much money made off it. Our country was built on tobacco.

b3mike
b3mike
12 years ago

Well, when I was in the Army I was under a lot of pressure. I had to work in an unfriendly working environment, meet impossible deadlines and deal with an overwhelming amount of work. I didn't "luck out" and go to one of those units where they always send you home early when you have nothing else to do. I had no set working schedule, I could get called in anytime for work. Typical working day consisted of one hour of Physical training from 7 to 8am, one hour to get cleaned up and then work from 9am till the work got done. My unit also "encouraged" us to continue our education. Factor in unscheduled Airborne jumps, which could last for hours depending on the weather and then a lot of the times they were still cancelled. They also made up their own rules along the way. By Army standards, we were supposed to take the Army Physical Fitness Test and pass every 6 months. In our unit we would have random, unscheduled "Unit Physical Fitness" to help us pass our actual Army Physical Fitness Test. If we failed these so called Unit level fitness tests we were put on "remedial pt". Remedial pt is additional physical training after work in addition to regular physical training very workday in the morning. So I was told to:

1. Do my job and do it well

2. Go above the call of duty

3. Do pt every morning and run an endless number of miles

4. Worry about time consuming airplane jumps which were cancelled a lot of times due to the bad weather or because the air force didn't want to fly.

5. Go to promotion boards

6. Encouraged to go to the gym and work on the areas I needed work on.

7. Deal with the possibly of failing my unit's bogus physical fitness test and get put on remedial pt.

8. Random uniform inspections

9. Sweep and mop the concrete floors in the hallways of our barracks every afternoon after work.

10. Have spit shine boots every workday even though the majority of us worked in shops.

11. Wear freshly starched uniforms every morning even though it was just going to get ruined and we were not allowed to wear Army overalls.

12. Be involved with the community

13. Go on random road marches

14. Participate in canned food drives and told to donate a certain amount of items, neglecting to donate said amount of items would single you out and get put on even more physical training.

15. Be a soldier "24/7"

This is why I started smoking, and to a certain extent drinking alcohol. I don't see how a video game is going to do any good. The military itself has condoned smoking before, by distributing tobacco products with their rations, meals ready to eat.

King James
King James
12 years ago

I care for the lungs of my troops but this seems like a great way to waste money in a recession. Lets pray this isn't the case.


Last edited by King James on 7/11/2009 1:56:50 PM

sticklife
sticklife
12 years ago

yeah, I wonder how much a normal game cost to make. I kinda wish they'd put that 3 million towards, well, you know, CURING cancer maybe. Just a thought.

tes37
tes37
12 years ago

I've got an idea for the 3.7 million. You could take that money and give out bonuses to the soldiers that manage to kick the habit, and I'm talking large bonuses.

bridgera
bridgera
12 years ago

Good comments, 3 million not spent on this worthless game is 3 million not barrowed from China.

Jawknee
Jawknee
12 years ago

Bridgera. Amen to that.

newchef
newchef
12 years ago

@tes- hell yea…as other ppl said being in the military is a job and as for some jobs they pay their employees to live a healthier life..maybe they could offer something else to the soldiers as well maybe extra time on the computer(my cousin always complains he only gets 30 mins a day on his comp in his barracks) or some other valued commodity to give them a reason to quit.

NiteKrawler
NiteKrawler
12 years ago

"or some other valued commodity to give them a reason to quit."

Like cigarettes! …oh wait.

Alienange
Alienange
12 years ago

"Only available on the Wii"

RadioHeader
RadioHeader
12 years ago

What's smokeless tobacco, and how do you know if you've correctly extinguished it?
This sounds like the most dangerous tobacco yet!

Soldiers smoke cuz their life is hazardous anyway. Most smokers will say… "well I could get hit by a bus tomorrow". Soldiers need to look out for more than just buses.

newchef
newchef
12 years ago

smokeless tobacco is anything u dont light up like chewing tabacco

Jalex
Jalex
12 years ago

Smoking is a part of games: Get over it.

Jed
Jed
12 years ago

I remember when I was installing MGS4 and it had all that stuff about not smoking and that it is not healthy, all while snake was standing there puffing away at a never ending cigarette. THAT was comedy.

Fane1024
Fane1024
12 years ago

More likely to reduce smoking than the game: get our brave men and women out of places where they can get blown up at any moment.

Reccaman18
Reccaman18
12 years ago

If you think taking them out of a situation where they can be blown up will stop them from smoking, you are sadly mistaken. People smoke to help relieve stress. And stress is everywhere. Whether or not that stress comes from a battlefield, or work, or anything in their personal lives. Its like TES said, the only real way to get rid of smoking completely, is to get rid of cigarettes. But, if you do that,you've just killed a major product of our economy.

CH1N00K
CH1N00K
12 years ago

Ah, the old smoking debate..Do you guys really think that taking cigarette's off the market will solve the issue? Has anyone heard of prohibition, when they tried to do that with alcohol? How'd that work out?

The government has a big enough problem now dealing with contraband cigarettes. Everytime the government raises the prices on the 'legal' smokes, more and more people book it to the reserves and buy the illegal ones, and the government gets nothing from those sales. Which is worse?

I don't smoke, but I know enough people that do. It's a personal choice, like alcohol. I do believe that where people smoke should be policed better so that kids aren't growing up in smoke infested houses, but to tell people that they can't have it? That's going to result in people filling our jails for selling and using an illegal drug, and that's going to cost the government more money. Money they aren't making from taxes on cigarettes.

Look at marijuana..It's illegal now, yet it seems everyone and their dog smokes it now days. Even the cops are more lenient on people now with possesion of weed? Why? It's a losing battle, and there is worse stuff out there then weed. The other reason? Do you know how many of billions of dollars are pumped back into the economy every year from that money that is made of the illegal sale of marijuana? Drug dealers usually deal because it's easy money. Money that they can't let the government know they have. So how do they hide that money? Buy lots of crap with cash sales, Motorbikes, Cars, TV's, Video game systems, etc..stuff that they don't keep receipts for and try to tell the IRS where they got it from. Unless you're a big time dealer then you look at offshores bank accounts.

As for trying to get soldiers to quit smoking. Really? 3.7 million dollars for that? How about all the fumes they inhale from gunpowder to tank fumes that burn their throats? What about helping those that have gone over deal with post-traumatic stress disorder? How about the rising rate of suicide amongst soldiers after they've left the battlefield? How about the soldiers that are having a hard time getting back into "regular" society because their mind is still with their gun?

You know what? If someone comes home and gets freaked out everytime a door slams because it reminds them of a gunshot or a bomb going off, I say give that poor guy a smoke. Screw it, give him a carton! Hell while you're at it give him a bit fattie and a bottle of scotch. And while he's sitting there feeling lonely and depressed because he doesn't know where he stands in society anymore? Sit down with him, share a smoke and a drink with him, give him your support, so that we can all get on with our lives.

And if I see an active soldier running 20k with a heavy backpack through the desert with a smoke hanging out of their mouth? Man, that's just impressive because I can't run 20K without a pack. If they're still doing their job, and I'm still able to walk my streets without a bus blowing up beside me? They can have my lungs when I'm done with them.

Jed
Jed
12 years ago

I think this is a horrible idea. You can do stuff in games without having to face the consequences of doing them in real life. How the hell are you going to create peer pressure in a video game???

If you release a game about not smoking, no smoker will ever play it. It's that simple. This is a HUGE waste of money.

As far as the moral dilemma in this discussion, if a man is out there facing death every day for his country, let him have a goddam smoke. If it started affecting his performance, I'm sure his CO would take care of it.


Last edited by Jed on 7/12/2009 8:19:21 PM

ExhumeART
ExhumeART
12 years ago

How is smoking bad for a soldier if he wakes up, every day, facing the realization that this day might be his last. I've never been, but my father was in the service, as was his, and both smoked to get rid of the pressure. Whoever this fu**ing guy is should be ashamed, he doesn't have to face death while his friends suddenly come back in body bags.

PS3addict
PS3addict
12 years ago

I was a 13F C.O.L.T (Forward Observer) in the US Army for 3 years. I smoked every day unless I was in the field. (Ichewed if on a mission) If you have ever seen the tip of a cig while wearing NVG's you would know why at a 1000 yards. I dipped or chewed instead.

You need to understand the stress of being behind enemy lines looking for targets to call fire on. These men and women risk thier lives for you to enjoy the freedoms so many take for granted. If they want to use tobacco as a crutch and stress releiver, I understand, since I did it as well.

Sure it is bad for you, but as we reminded our butterbar lt; It is not as bad for me as a bullet in the brain…

b3mike
b3mike
12 years ago

amen

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