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IF PENTAGON workers consider the building's central courtyard to be one of the Washington, DC, area's more pleasant places to spend a warm-weather lunch hour, military planners of the former Soviet Union apparently viewed it differently—as a prime wartime target for their nuclear weapons. Thus, the courtyard came to be nicknamed (perhaps as the US military's way of thumbing its nose at a potential danger) "Ground Zero."
The Eastern bloc nuclear danger has diminished, but another deadly threat continues to hang over at least some users of the Ground Zero inner courtyard this week. Smoking still will be allowed there (as a designated outdoor tobacco-use area "reasonably accessible to workers") when tightened US Department of Defense smoking rules go into effect Friday.
The department, which is the nation's largest employer with 1.7 million uniformed personnel and some 900 000 civilians on its direct payroll, announced last month that "smoking of
Gunby P. Military Becomes Smoke-Free Work Site This Week. JAMA. 1994;271(13):971-973. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510370023007