April 8th, 2010
08:31 PM ET

Navy nixes smoking on submarines

Smoking and submarines don't mix.That's the message the U.S. Navy is sending after announcing that smoking will no longer be permitted below decks on its submarines effective December 31.

"This policy was initiated for the health of the sailors who choose not to smoke," said Lt. Commander Mark Jones, spokesman for the Commander Naval Submarine Forces in Norfolk, Virginia.

"It is unfair for them to be exposed to the unhealthy side effects of secondhand smoke."

Jones said the submarine force conducted a study in 2009 on nine
different submarines covering the four different classes of subs. In that testing, it found nonsmokers were being exposed to the effects of secondhand smoke.

There are currently 57 submarines serving in the U.S. Navy, and about 13,000 sailors on submarine active duty, according to Jones. Of those sailors, recent polling indicates 35 to 40 percent are smokers, he said.

Jones conceded there will likely be complaints. However, he said the Navy has very aggressive smoking cessation programs. There will also be nicotine replacement therapy widely available on the submarines, such as Nicorette gum and nicotine patches.

"We're going to work as hard as we can to make this an easy transition," said Jones.

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.

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Filed under: Military • U.S.
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. Will McMahon

    Are taxpayers going to start paying for Nicorette gum? This is a serious question...

    April 9, 2010 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    Well the Gvt has been letting big tobacco kill Americans for years. So much hypocrisy in the USA.

    April 9, 2010 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. SubNuke

    I have been a submariner for over 12 years, and this ban is ridiculous. As has been previously stated, the air on a submarine is purified several times over. You have CO2 scrubbers, CO-H2 burners, electrostatic precipitators, HEPA filters, and so on, and so on...

    Life on a submarine is intense. I work well over 100 hours a week. Cigarette breaks are one of the few chances I get to take a break, relax with my cigarette, and refocus my energy to the next task at hand.

    The submarine navy is losing it's edge, this coupled along with random Breathalyzers in the morning, kicking people out for having 2 alcohol related incidents throughout their career, kicking people out for failing 3 physical assessments in a 4 years span, and so on, and so on...

    There's a reason that submariners are getting out of the navy in droves. The navy is making are fleet a bunch of mindless robots that will have no clue what to do when the *you know what* hits the fan.

    April 9, 2010 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  4. IT1-USN

    If secondhand smoke is TRULY the reason behind it, they will allow smokeless tobacco on subs while still continuing to offer smoking cessation programs.
    A submarine is not the place to intentionally introduce added stress.

    April 9, 2010 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ken

    AT LAST - a way to quit smoking!!!
    I'll join the navy and hope for sub training.
    I'm only 65, think they'll take me???

    April 9, 2010 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. USA

    Why was ever ok to smoke inside a sub????????????????

    April 9, 2010 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
  7. kbreak

    Just pay every serviceman who successfully quits for a whole cruise, a 3,000$ bonus.

    Itls still cheaper than the health care the smokers might have needed later.

    April 9, 2010 at 3:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. joeblow

    As a current submariner and non-smoker, I think this is long overdue. The only problem I have with it is the loss of income effect it will have on me. I always took a few cartons underway to store in my rack. By the end of a trip, when all the smokers have run out and are jonesin' for a smoke, you can make a pretty penny by selling your "last pack" over and over again!

    April 9, 2010 at 5:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. Poppy

    I thought guys in the navy smoked hog?

    October 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Event Management Courses

    i use lamp shades with CFL ubls instead of incandescent lamps, they are much cooler and uses less electricity *:~

    November 16, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Brandan

    That is Awesome! Thanks a ton.

    September 18, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
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