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Navy Considers Smoking Ban On Submarines

April 7, 2010

Top ranking Navy officials have confirmed that a ban on smoking on submarines is being seriously considered, according to various media reports Tuesday.

According to a March 23 article in Navy Times magazine, Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, is quoted as saying the Armed Forces branch was “going to stop smoking on submarines.”

On April 6, Submarine Force spokesman Lieutenant Commander Mark Jones clarified those remarks, telling the AFP, “We are currently looking at changing the policy, but we have not changed the policy.”

According to a 2009 Pentagon and American Institute of Medicine study found that 32-percent of servicemen and women smoke, in comparison to just one out of every five American civilians. According to Jones, 40-percent of the people currently serving on submarines are smokers.

Navy Times reporter Lance M. Bacon quotes Roughead as saying, “That atmosphere (smoking) moves around the submarine. You don’t smell it, but the damaging things from the smoke are still present”¦ Someone said in the course of the discussion after the [health] tests [that] they realized they might as well have just smoked”¦ We are able to discern what the health effects are better than in the past.”

In July 2002, William D. Norris of bnet.com polled Navy servicemen in regards to their attitudes on smoking onboard submarines. According to Norris, “55% felt that it would be justifiable, 46% felt that it would be unfair, 42% felt that it was uncalled for, 46% thought that it would be illegal, and 47% thought that a ban was about time.”

Image Caption: The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Wyoming. Credit: Rebecca Rebarich, U.S. Navy

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