War Veterans Decry VA Smoking Ban

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

War veterans are up in arms over a new Oklahoma law that goes into effect later this year. The new legislation would ban them from smoking inside veterans' administration homes.

"They didn't mind us getting involved with their country, giving what we could, but they don't want to turn around and help us,” said veteran Marvin Jameson.

Jameson earned two purple hearts while serving his country. He's a smoker of more than 50 years and a resident of the state-funded Talihina Veterans Center. On Nov. 1, he won't be able to light up in or outside his home.

"It's going to be a hardship on all these people here," said Jameson.

Sherman Rice, a smoker who started when he was 14, said he was a bit nervous when he heard he wouldn't be able to light up.

"At first, anger. Then frustration. Then, how do we get it stopped?" said Rice

Rice said courses on how to kick the habit are being offered.

"The government has offered (quitting) smoking classes, and quite honestly they're a joke,” said Rice.

Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs said its facilities will follow the law, as properties owned by the entity are not exempt. Some smokers are worried at the prospect of being forced to go through the difficult task of quitting.

"It's not something you just put down, it truly is not," Rice said. "It's a mental, physical habit, and it is very difficult to break."

The smokers said they buy most of their cigarettes from a vendor who rents out space at the center. The vendor may go out of business come November.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.