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Smoking ban at VA facilities has some veterans fuming

Serving up drinks at the American Legion post in Concord, Jeff Holland gets a little testy when the talk turns to smoking.

A Marine veteran who enjoys lighting up, the 44-year-old Holland fought unsuccessfully against a ban at the post that went into effect earlier this month. And starting Tuesday, he will be prohibited from smoking when he visits the nearby Manchester VA Medical Center in New Hampshire.

It is part of a nationwide smoking ban outside all VA medical facilities that applies to visitors, patients and employees.

“I get the aspect that it’s a hospital and for all practical purposes you shouldn’t be smoking inside the VA,” Holland said. “But as far outside, I think they should still have a smoking area. I mean you got guys from World War I, World War II where this is all they have known for 40 or 50 years. To kind of take that right away, it’s kind of a shame.”

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