Russia's new defense minister wants to extinguish one of the Russian military's most endemic health problems and martial perks: giving free cigarettes to troops. His challenge is to prevent nicotine-deprived soldiers from violently freaking out.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has reportedly drawn up a rule to end the longstanding practice of providing enlisted troops and cadets with 10 cigarettes a day. According to the Russian newspaper Izvestia, the reason is pretty straightforward: Russian soldiers choke down cigarettes, and the subsidy is encouraging the next generation of uniformed addicts.
"New non-smoking conscripts who find themselves among the smokers generally begin to smoke too," Alexander Kanshin, national security chairman of the Kremlin's Civic Chamber, told the newspaper. "This is not good for anyone."