"I strongly feel that we need our armed forces to be physically and mentally fit and avoid using substances that compromise their health, fitness and well-being," Vardhan wrote in his letter.

"Therefore, the armed forces establishments must stop selling tobacco products through their canteens and the ministry may revisit its policy making available cigarettes and other tobacco products at a discount to their members," he added.

The Health Minister said information and education campaign should back up the ban, and added that all defence establishments and naval ships should be made no-smoking zones.

"This would go a long way in creating a healthy and fit force that can take up any enemy challenge with grit and determination," he added.

(Agencies)

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