Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Talking Tuesday

US Navy introduces smoking ban on submarines

Giving up smoking may be a New Year's resolution for some, but all US sailors will now have to follow suit, as the US Navy moves to ban its crews from smoking aboard submarines starting Friday.

In a country where fights against Big Tobacco are common, troops deprived of fresh air and natural light for months were surprisingly allowed to smoke in submerged submarines. But no more, after a Pentagon study found the risks of second-hand smoke were severe in those highly confined spaces.

Submarine Forces Commander Vice Admiral John Donnelly ordered the ban aboard 73 US subs, citing health concerns.

"Our sailors are our most important asset to accomplishing our missions," he said in announcing the measure in April.

"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."

About 40 percent of the 13,000 US submarine sailors smoke -- double the US national average.

The order comes 16 years after a ban on smoking in military buildings and installations, as well as aboard US Navy ships. Sailors are, however, allowed to smoke on the decks of surface ships.

US submarine sailors are also bracing for another major change with women being allowed to serve aboard submarines for the first time starting late next year or in early 2012.

British submarine sailors are allowed to smoke on board, while the French have banned the practice except on decks when the submarine is out of the water.

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Dec 30, 2010

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Your turn.....................................


Paxie said...

I think we are forcing too many changes on our military during time of war.

Sarge Charlie said...

I was surprised that they were allowed to smoke in a sub.

Fragrant Liar said...

It's insane when the French ban smoking on subs before we do. I'm glad they're doing this, and I was incredulous to find out how much secondhand smoke our soldiers have been subjected to. The military is so slow sometimes!

Coffeypot said...

I read that they though about letting them gather in one room to smoke if they opened the window. That idea was a washout.

Hope you are doing okay today, too.


MightyMom said...

coffeypot....that cracks me up!

this is interesting....I'm gonna ask my Subvet.

a) smoking is a stress release and a addiction - physical and psychological.....is it fair or smart to take a bunch of guys already in extremely stressful and redundant situation and take away one of the major relief valves??

b) Subvet will know as he was in charge of the atmosphere cleaning machines.....but I can't see how in such a totally inclosed area there could be any way to regulate the amount of smoke in the air without a complete ban....


Subvet said...

I made my first sub patrol back in 72', EVERYBODY smoked then. We'd run both CO2 removal units for at least 6 hours a day just to keep up. To put this in proper perspctive, the original reason for two units was for backup should the machine in use fail. Using two for a quarter of the day was indicative of heavy atmospheric contamination.

Fast forward to 92' right before I got out, I was on a Med cruise where we spent a couple of months submerged with 36 extra bodies (SEALs and their support personnel) onboard. The demand for the scrubbers was much less, so was the prevelance of smokers (FWIW, I'd quit back in 86).

So is this a good thing? As is evident by the previous paragraph, secondhand smoke DOES have a negative effect on the quality of the air anyone breathes. Personally, I think anyone who still smokes in this day and age after all the proof of the harm done must be a fool.

But having the nannies in the government dictate behavior in this manner is a cure worse than the problem. If they really want to stop all tobacco use in an effective and non intrusive manner, a complete ban from the time of enlistment until seperation would be a better way to go. That way the choice is entirely upon the enlistee, who knows from the getgo what is required in this area. Want to smoke? Don't enlist. End of story.

In closing I'll just say I'm DAMNED glad to be retired so I don't have to put up with the fallout from this, AND women now being stationed aboard the boats, AND openly gay sailors serving, AND any other PC crappola the idiots at the Pentagon dream up while looking for political butt to kiss.

Let 'em just keep sending the retirement checks to my house, they'll help pay for the ammo I'll be using up when this nation goes completely bellyup. God help us all.