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Navy Extends No Smoking to Submarines


Commander, Submarine Forces (COMSUBFOR) on April 8 announced the extension of the no smoking ban to below decks aboard all U.S. Navy submarines. The smoking ban will become effective no later than Dec. 31, 2010.

The change of policy recognizes the health risks of not only smoking, but of exposure to secondhand smoke. The 2006 Surgeon General's report on involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke stated there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke increase their risk of developing heart and lung disease.

Vice Adm. John J. Donnelly, COMSUBFOR said, “Our Sailors are our most important asset to accomplishing our missions. Recent testing has proven that, despite our atmosphere purification technology, there are unacceptable levels of secondhand smoke in the atmosphere of a submerged submarine. The only way to eliminate risk to our non-smoking Sailors is to stop smoking aboard our submarines."

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In conjunction with the policy change, cessation assistance to Sailors is being offered. The program will incorporate education techniques and nicotine replacement therapy, such as nicotine patches and nicotine gum, to assist in kicking the smoking habit. In keeping with current submarine policy, drugs such as Zyban and Chantix are not authorized.

"To help smokers minimize the effects of quitting, nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches and gum, will be readily available along with an extensive cessation training and support program on every boat. What we want to discourage is smokers turning to alternative methods of tobacco use such a chewing tobacco," said Capt. Mark Michaud, Submarine Force Atlantic surgeon.

"While submarine duty is a dynamic and demanding job, the Submarine Force is dedicated to mitigating unnecessary risks to our Sailors. Exposure to a harmful substance that is avoidable, such as secondhand smoke, is unfair to those who choose not to smoke," said Donnelly.

In the past, smoking had been confined to certain areas on the submarine. Individual submarine commanders will still be allowed to decide if crew members are permitted to smoke on deck.




I am amazed that it has taken the Navy until the year. 2010 to finally admit that secondhand smoke is bad enough for sailors' health to ban it altogether from submarines. I feel complete empathy for all of the sailors whose health has been impacted for decades because the military has refused to take action! What absolute ignorance. Even after the dangers of secondhand smoke have been well documented and common sense would dictate a confined space like a submarine with recycled air and all of those toxins in cigarette smoke could not be properly removed, you would have thought they would HAVE DONE SOMETHING ALREADY.
It's shocking that our chief health officer would say something so stupid. He might as well say 'there is no safe level" for such poisons as arsenic and formaldehyde, etc. which we all have in our bodies... which I guess means there ARE "safe levels" for most everything, INCLUDING "second-hand smoke" which is benign in real world concentrations. Annoyance doesn't qualify as a health threat.
What B.S.! The air in modern subs is scrubbed so it is cleaner than the air you breathe on most city streets. The whole 2nd hand smoke "threat" (especially in such a well-filtered environment as a modern sub) is so much hokem.
What bull shit!
What the !.....Why is this happening to the submariners. Smoking is the sign of real men in uniforms. hypnosis and stop smoking