Union Minister of State for Health Harsh Vardhan has written to the Defence Minister calling for a ban on sale of tobacco products through Defence canteens..

In a letter on Monday, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that the Defence Ministry should revisit its policy of making available cigarettes and other tobacco products at a discount to the members of the services.

The letter said that anti-smoking efforts had so far not focussed on health risks to thousands of armed forces personnel. The argument that military personnel need tobacco for stress relief devalues the quality of their life in the long run and ignores the military’s obligation to provide healthy and effective means of stress relief to its personnel, Dr. Vardhan said.

All Defence establishments, including naval ships, should be declared no smoking zones, he added.