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April 8th, 2010
08:31 PM ET
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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.

Displaying 144 Comments | Add comment
April 8th, 2010
8:44 pm ET

While I do think it is only fair to non-smokers in an enclosed area, I don't think that quitting is going to be easy for them. As Mark Twain said "Quitting smoking is easy. I've done it hundreds of times". Nicotine is sinister.

Posted by: leavelaw
April 8th, 2010
8:44 pm ET

I'm stunned this didn't happen years ago.

Posted by: jim atmadison
April 8th, 2010
8:45 pm ET

How many sailors don't actually smoke?

Posted by: Coris Davis
April 8th, 2010
8:45 pm ET

fine by me, i work with jet fumes, noise, aircraft bleed air, irritating chemicals all day long in the Air Force, and for me, its no where near as bad as standing in a closed area with a smoker...they stink...its nasty thats all their is to it.

Posted by: gabe
April 8th, 2010
8:46 pm ET

Probably a good idea anyway since a fire aboard a submarine would not be ideal.

Posted by: JB
April 8th, 2010
9:00 pm ET

LOL! Those are going to be some stressed out sailors!

Posted by: Mc
April 8th, 2010
9:03 pm ET

That's just ridiculous. Subs can be submerged for MONTHS; it's not like a long airplane ride. Moreover, during rare opportunities to surface (in even rarer good weather) I very much doubt that a CO will allow 35-40% of the crew to go above deck to smoke!!!

Truly draconian. The Navy could have designated at least one space on subs as a smoking area & fitted it with an airlock & negative pressure to prevent exposure for non-smoking crew members. This is prejjudice, pure and simple, in addition to being yet another example of the military's usual loathsome tricks used to discourage people from reenlisting when force reductions are looming. (They save on buyouts & severance pay that way.)

Posted by: that1guy
April 8th, 2010
9:05 pm ET

I think this is a good idea but I sure hope the Navy aggressively encourages sub sailors to stop smoking long before the end of the year. I sure wouldn't want to be out at sea on a submarine with someone that is in the process of quitting smoking.

Posted by: AnneS
April 8th, 2010
9:09 pm ET

I share jim atmadison's amazement that this wasn't done years ago. I cannot imagine being in that closed space breathing disgusting, deadly second-hand smoke. I'm glad the Navy is getting into the 21st Century.

Posted by: Eriekayaker
April 8th, 2010
9:10 pm ET

These sailors are the Navy's elite. They get extra pay for serving on subs. These sailors are both smart & tough. They will quit smoking to keep serving on subs as a matter of personal pride.

Posted by: larry
April 8th, 2010
9:11 pm ET

Just so you know, the average crewmember never gets "on deck" while the sub is under-weigh. That's like saying a smoker might/might get to smoke a cig once every month or two. Just quit, or we'll make you quit, is what they're saying. And that's OK for all concerned.

Posted by: David
April 8th, 2010
9:11 pm ET

No, it is NOT a good idea, Anne. Submariners live a very austere life deprived of innumerable simple pleasures that you & I take for granted already. This is a significant & totally unjust hardship.

Furthermore, a great many military people (mostly the senior ones now) actually BEGAN smoking in the military, since smoke breaks were one of the very few permissable social/relaxation events in basic training. My drill instructor was very clear that everyone in the smoking area BETTER be smoking or they'd be punished!!!

If they fostered the addiction, they have no right at all to turn around & restrict it. This is deeply wrong on many levels.

Posted by: that1guy
April 8th, 2010
9:16 pm ET

I was aboard a submarine from 1994-1999, I was and am a non-smoker. This is going to be very tough, quitting is not easy, and now these guys are going to have no choice. We were extended for 30 days one time, and all of the smokers ran out of cigarettes, it was not a pleasant place to be.

Our smoking section was near the ship's main fan right by the diesel engine, and the smoke was sucked into the ventilation system. All of the air in the ventilation system went through scrubbers and burners which removed CO and CO2 from the air. You would have had to have been standing in that area to notice. Nothing could overcome the smell of amine anyway, which I can still smell in the uniforms I took underway, over 10 years ago.

In my opinion this is an unneccessary move, which is more about being PC than anything else. I guess it will encourage the smokers to quit, which is a good thing, but secondhand smoke is not really an issue.

Posted by: Chris
April 8th, 2010
9:20 pm ET

This 2009 study was a foolow up from the one done by Yale Newhaven (I think) medial back in the 90's on the 688 class fast attack subs in Groton CT. There they found that the levels of carcinigens from cigaretts were the same in smokers and none smokers after deployment. I know I was always choked up during underway periods (706 & 737).

Posted by: MMC SS/SS1/DV
April 8th, 2010
9:23 pm ET

I know that the smokers will feel that they are being descriminated against but for the health of all the sailors, this is absolutely necessary. I also know that the air on a sub is constantly recycled but there is noone who can deny that being in a submerged tube with cancer causing agents being released into the airspace is extremely unhealthy. I really think the Navy should've taken this into consideration when accepting new recruits into the Silent Service a long time ago.

Posted by: Jason Glugla
April 8th, 2010
9:24 pm ET

It only makes sense to prohibit smoking in an enclosed sub. How else could the Navy not expose non-smokers to tobacco without costly air scrubbers or air replacement systems. This is a war ship, not a pleasure cruiser.

Posted by: jjcale
April 8th, 2010
9:24 pm ET

I am a former smoker and these guys are under alot of stress just being confined to a sub to begin with, I think that smoking should be a an individual choice and not a mandate. They should have at least a smoking room for the people who enjoy tobacco and need to relieve stress.

Posted by: Roy R. Rowlands
April 8th, 2010
9:28 pm ET

Former Navy here – I'm glad that the Navy has made this tough decision and glad that they'll be providing the gum and patches.

Posted by: Jo
April 8th, 2010
9:29 pm ET

So for our men who put themselves in harm's way for OUR freedoms, you take one away from them. That makes a lot of sense.

Posted by: NSR
April 8th, 2010
9:30 pm ET

OH, and serving in the Navy is not hazardous to your health?? Being couped up in a tin can underwater is not a great place to quit smoking. I think they should allow those who already smoke to continue, but make the non-smoking requirement apply to the new sailors.

Posted by: DOn
April 8th, 2010
9:30 pm ET

I also believe this is unfair to the sailors, but the overall health of them should improve and it would also be better for the electronics on these subs as smoke leaves a residue on the lungs and on things that are in the area. Though those sailors may be very stressed unless they can find another outlet for their frustrations.

Posted by: brm
April 8th, 2010
9:33 pm ET

As a non-smoker, I believe this new rule is obsurd. With the rigorous schedule, operations, and long periods of submergence, it is a total crock. Second-hand smoke is just that, second-hand. It does not matter if your on a surface ship, or submarine. There is only two designated places for crewmembers to smoke, One is in the forward compartment, in the fan room, where the smoke is quickly drawn into the ciruclation system, in which the air is cleaned. The other area is back AFT where there is very limited foot traffic, so second hand smoke is not an issue. Unless you are on top of the smoker, and shooting the breeze, you will not be affected. Same goes to the surface fleet. You're not getting the second hand smoke unless your standing next to the person. If you are banning smoking on submarines, ban smoking in the navy, PERIOD!! Does not make sense to ban second-hand smoking, which has lesser side effects than the actual smoking. Let's get rid of the problem in hand (smoking) then preventing, and targeting a certain group. As a submariner, I don't like to be near smokers, so I do not hang out where they smoke on the boat.

Posted by: NavySubmariner
April 8th, 2010
9:33 pm ET

Former submariner here - all I can say is I'm surprised it took them this long. The smell ... well, like gabe said it's not the worst thing you deal with. Firing up the diesel engine will leave your clothes smelling like the boat long after you are gone. But banning smoking removes a health concern, reduces maintenance on CO2 scrubbers and gets rid of a potential fire hazard. Fire on a sub is a major threat to the boat.

I expect this will save the Navy money overall, even when you add in the price of smoking cessation programs.

Posted by: Jeff
April 8th, 2010
9:34 pm ET

I used to be in the Navy for 12 years... this policy is LONG OVERDUE.

Thank you CNO!!!!!

Posted by: T
April 8th, 2010
9:35 pm ET

It's simple. Separate quarters, $50 HEPA filter.
The only problem is that the pentagon WOULD find a way to pay $10,000.00 for those HEPA filtering units and probably another grand for the $10 replacement filters...

Posted by: Everton P
April 8th, 2010
9:37 pm ET

I just wanted to clarify my statement "not make sense to ban second-hand smoking, which has lesser side effects than the actual smoking." If your banning smoking on the condition of non-smokers being subject to second-hand smoke....BAN SMOKING ALTOGETHER! Stop the problem at the source! Don't use non-smokers as a safe-way excuse to ban smoking. Just come out and ban smoking outright!

Posted by: NavySubmariner
April 8th, 2010
9:37 pm ET

There shouldn't be any smoking on Government (i.e. taxes) funded property anyway. As they say at boot camp – time to toughen' up as you are not American Civilians anymore but property of the US Government!

American Civilians seem to forget that Soldiers / Sailors are enlisting as *volunteers* and are thus not subject to the same rules / laws as civilians but to the Uniform Code of Military Justice where it is a dictatorship. From the President down to the grunt there is a chain of command and not a social "debating committee" as civilians like to have. There isn't time to debate on a battle field or you're just plain dead.

Building a separate chamber does not help a submarine complete it's mission any better. Having a drug free sailor however does.

Posted by: mgc6288
April 8th, 2010
9:39 pm ET

A noble goal, but getting 4550-5200 submariners to quit smoking as of 12/31 is wishful thinking, despite the Navy's "very aggressive anti-smoking programs." Ain't gonna happen - CDR Jones (or, more likely, his superiors) just needs to look at the stats. The end result will probably be the loss of a few thousand highly skilled crewmen. The Navy's going to replace them with nonsmokers in a year or two? Get real, Navy!

Posted by: Jack C
April 8th, 2010
9:39 pm ET

I can not understand why this has been allowed since the invention of submarines. I have been forced to endure second hand smoke for over 55 years, I have breathing difficulties due to it. Smoking is not necessary, avoiding smoking for many is life or death, and a bad death at that.

There are better ways to quiet stress of a job or life than this. Each person has a responsibility to help each other.

Posted by: JLC
April 8th, 2010
9:46 pm ET

SNUS is still a viable alternative.

Posted by: James Hunt
April 8th, 2010
9:46 pm ET

This is a fantastic decision. Not only will submariners be healthier, they will be more focused on the crucial tasks that they deal with on a daily basis. I'm sure there will be a difficult period of adjustment, but the service will be better off with a no smoking policy.

Posted by: Richard
April 8th, 2010
9:47 pm ET

I am a senior submariner. I have been on 3 different boats and I am getting ready to go command one. This is one of the best decisions the sub force has ever made. Smoking is hard on the crew, hard on the atmospheric control equipment, costs money, and wastes time.

Posted by: johnnuke
April 8th, 2010
9:49 pm ET

I'm amazed that there people here who defend the smokers. I have served on ships with smoking areas...they are nasty pits that you can't even stand in the room after 3 or 4 months. Cut the smoking once and for all.

Posted by: Luther
April 8th, 2010
9:52 pm ET

I am far more surprised that this was not already a law!

The time for people to make allowances for the destructive drug addictions of others is over. I am glad that the navy made this step (I already thought that smoking was forbidden though, lol). Soon I hope that non-smoking will be a requirement to work, period.

Posted by: Wow
April 8th, 2010
9:53 pm ET

It should be cleared up that there are two main types of subs, attack and boomer (missile boats). Boomers never surface from leaving port to return, the whole point of them is to not know where they are... So unless they have a filtered smoking room similar to the airport ones I've seen they will not ever get a puff. Attack subs don't surface a whole lot, but they do, not that many people get to go topside anyway, so you can't be a smoker there either. I would say the military doesn't want to pay out on all the medical cost associated with a smoker as well. Smoking is not good for you, they shouldn't do it anyway, but then there is personal freedom. Submariners are highly trained professionals, similar only to astronauts, aquanauts to be precise, and if they want to do that job then being healthy can't be bad. They could make a filtration room, a smoking booth, but I suspect the navy wants to curb medical issues as well,....

Posted by: Morgan
April 8th, 2010
9:55 pm ET

Long, long over due. Smoking isn't gum-chewing. It's a killer for the smoker and dangerous for anyone around them. The submariners who smoke today will hate this move for the next year or so until they break the addiction - and then come to be extremely grateful to the Navy for having done them a huge favor over the rest of their (longer and healthier) lifetime. Bravo!

Posted by: J1789
April 8th, 2010
9:57 pm ET

as a friend of a former submariner i find this new rule understandable but still a poor choice. i know if i didn't see daylight for 6 months i would want a smoke too. also the air is so heavily filtered i dont see how smoking on certain restricted areas is a problem. im just glad im not the guy to break it to these guys that they cant smoke.

Posted by: eharrison
April 8th, 2010
9:57 pm ET

Before banning smoking on Submarines, Navy should have banned smoking on surface ships first. This way, they can see what kind of problems will arise. Smokers on surface ships can smoke on deck any day of the week 24/7 as long as ordanance, or operations are not taking place that can preven them from smoking. There will be so many issues, and problems that will arise from this ban on Submarines. What are the success rates for people quitting smoking in 6 months time? What are they going to do, separatet the Submariners who can't stop smoking? I say, use the grandfather rule. Any new Submariners who enter the Navy are banned from smoking. Let it be known prior to the potential Sailors join the Navy.

Posted by: NavySubmariner
April 8th, 2010
9:58 pm ET

as a former bubblehead, it's about time this happened. I actually quit cold turkey on 5/28/89 when departing Yokosuka for an 80 day specop. I had decided enough was enough and left shore without smokes, knowing full well my blackmarketing shipmates would eventually be dinging us $5/pack.

And back then, you could only smoke in two areas, the galley during off meal hours, and...the control room, believe it or not.

Posted by: JoeMama
April 8th, 2010
9:58 pm ET

I served on submarines when everyone smoked. Sailors can quit, I did before I made my last patrol. The cigarette residue in confined spaces is filthy. Things that are painted white soon take on the nicotine yellow. The navy will have healthier sailors and save money on having a smoke free submarine force. I still wonder how much damage was done to my health during my service aboard the boats. I am 64 now and breathing fine so I guess I quit smoking early enough and God has blessed me with good health.

Posted by: Jimmie
April 8th, 2010
10:08 pm ET

It seems as if all comments are in favor of this non-smoking rule change, but the one from that1guy. So you think this a move to discourage submariners from reenlisting? Well knowing my government they spent lots of money to figure out that non-smokers health are being compomized by smokers. (This is something I could have told them for free). The fact that 35-40% of the men on subs are smokers puts them in the minority. Lets not forget that while these men are in the Navy their health care is provided to them, and smokers end up having higher health care cost. (don't be surprized when company's start banning workers from smoking, to lower insurance cost). The men serving on subs volunteer to do so and get paid extra money because of it. It is a special assignment and with it come special rules.

Posted by: Triman
April 8th, 2010
10:09 pm ET

I was on a fast attack sub out of Norfolk, VA from 1976 to 1980. About half of everyone smoked, including me. We all joked about the 'boat smell' that soaked into our clothes. I tried about 20 times to quit, but couldn't until I left the Navy and was off that boat away from all the the other guys who smoked.

This change is looooong overdue!

Posted by: Dan
April 8th, 2010
10:12 pm ET

Being ex-navy and ex-smoker, I can see both sides of this, and both have some valid points.

I'd suggest e-cigarettes. It's a win/win. No tobacco products, combustion, 2nd (or 1st!) hand smoke, smell, or carcinogens for the boat, and the (ex) smoker still gets his nicotine and the pleasure of a good smoke. From the user surveys I've seen, I'd expect that 80% or more would have no trouble switching permanently.

Posted by: Gym
April 8th, 2010
10:13 pm ET

When I joined in 79 i started smoking, still do, the goal back then was for the Navy was to be smoke free by 2000. Then in about 92 they extremely limited smoking areas onboard ships. By 94 you could only smoke outside the ship structure. Not a sub guy but I am sure sub guys did not have a very nice place to smoke to start with. I am glad I am long retired and not living it now!

Posted by: Retired ABEC
April 8th, 2010
10:15 pm ET

As an ex submarine officer, I read this article with some interest. I find it amusing that sailors will still be allowed to smoke 'on deck', since that location is typically well beneath the surface of the ocean and pretty wet – hard to get a light. While areas in the immediate vicinity of the smokers were unpleasant, atmosphere control on the boat was good, so the effects on non smokers (me included) are not as bad as you might think. Still, it is a good idea to have a period of time to discourage smoking before banning it entirely as there needs to be some time for the smokers to transition. For many, going without for weeks or months at a time would be very difficult to take. Life on the boats was hard enoguh as it was.

Posted by: Mike
April 8th, 2010
10:16 pm ET

I smoked for 25 years. It was the toughest thing I ever did to quit...even harder than going through divorce/death in the family! But I did learn that you CAN quit. They are offering patches and support programs and if the sailors really want to stay with the submarine program, they can avail themselves of the help. If they really are the cream of the crop of sailors, they will! Otherwise they can be transferred to other sea duties or shoreside duty. That will be their choice.

Personally, I think that the CJCS should just make it official...if you are in any branch of the service quit, or get out.

Posted by: GI Jeff
April 8th, 2010
10:17 pm ET

Those are all very interesting perspectives. I get the arguments against the smoking ban, still have to agree with it. I smoked for ten years, so I know that quitting is possible. I also know that it is technically possible for the Navy to create smoking rooms where others would not be breathing the smoke, but should they? The best solution would be to have a submarine full of non smokers. The transition is where the problem arises. The Navy should at least allow smokers who refuse to quit to relocate or get other sources of nicotine if they so desire.

Posted by: Scott
April 8th, 2010
10:19 pm ET

They will just start dipping.

Posted by: Jeff
April 8th, 2010
10:19 pm ET

Finally. This was supposed to happen 13 years ago but they caved to pressure. Smoking has always been limited to the engineering spaces near the refrigerant plants... where the heat from the cigarettes produces phosgene gas (yes, it's lethal).

Posted by: Jim
April 8th, 2010
10:20 pm ET


That's the answer. It's the answer a lot of places now. It's gross, but that's what will happen.

Posted by: Sam
April 8th, 2010
10:22 pm ET

This isn't going to be easy. I only had about a 10% success rate with my sailors who attempted to quit smoking while on submarines. This will certainly give them extra incentive.

Posted by: Retired Submarine Doc
April 8th, 2010
10:26 pm ET

What I find hilarious is that the Navy can make this change in a relatively quick time frame, but needs to have a significant amount of time to study the impact of DADT, a policy that doesn't impact or interfere with the health and safety of large numbers of people. Smoking is dangerous, openly gay and lesbian service members are not.

Posted by: Matt
April 8th, 2010
10:27 pm ET

Wow. It took this long to ban smoking on submarines? The Navy isn't exactly very progressive. You'd think health and fitness would be a bit more of a priority for the military.

Posted by: Shawn
April 8th, 2010
10:31 pm ET

If you have a negative opinion of this policy, and you are not a Submarine Sailor, past or present, then you have no basis to form an opinion, and should remain silent.

You can however volunteer to serve this country, volunteer to be a Submariner, get qualified, and then you can have an opinion based in fact, and experience.

ETC(SS/SW) ret.

Posted by: Dave, Louisville, KY
April 8th, 2010
10:32 pm ET

LOL, this is going to make for really long patrols.

Posted by: matt
April 8th, 2010
10:33 pm ET

Yeah it is amazing how people believe in the "rights" of smokers on government funded (non-private) property at the expense of the rights of non-smokers.

Posted by: mgc6288
April 8th, 2010
10:33 pm ET

I am a non smoker but I do not like this rule. I do not think it is good for the fleet. It is another right taking from our brave men and women. This opens up for more items whats next? For the overall health of the crew there will be no more coffee, soda, sweet snacks, fatty foods, fried foods? Im telling you we will be eating nothing but beans and rice soon! Brown rice is what we will get though because white rice packs on the weight as well.

How many of you who approve of this have ever been on a sub? Smoke areas are in controlled spaces that scrubb the air!

This sailors will start sneaking smokes throughout the boat which will probably make things worse HA!

Posted by: Chris
April 8th, 2010
10:34 pm ET

As a female in the Navy, I work with these guys at one of the best shore commands they can be at, where they have all the cigarettes they desire and they're still miserable!!!
They have it rough... give them their simple pleasures!!!

Posted by: Karen
April 8th, 2010
10:48 pm ET

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Working around nuclear weapons, underwater for 3 months within a few feet of a nuclear reactor and they are worried about second hand smoke? Enough already. The dangers of second hand smoke have been so overblown that it has made a joke of modern science.

In order to be a member of the SS Hitler required all be NON-smokers and yet every boy that bled on the beaches of Normandy had a pack of smokes with them. We were fighting for freedom. Hitler wasn't. Oh how far we have fallen...

Posted by: Frank
April 8th, 2010
10:48 pm ET

or they could just assign all the non-smokers to most of the subs and all the smokers in a few subs...

in that way, the smoking sub can have a communal smoking session and save on money. heck, they can even remove the air scrubbers so that the cigarette smoke keeps recirculating until all the sailors inhale them.... (just being efficient and green, that's all)

my real question is:

When California legalize marijuana, can Californians have their own subs?

Posted by: john
April 8th, 2010
10:48 pm ET

The subforce didn't have enough problems so why not ban smoking. Sounds to me like some genius idea to "change" something that wasn't broken just to get another star. The smoking area "back aft" was just fine. The 4 boats I was on always had a max of 2 lit cigarettes at a time rule. The smell did not travel outside of the designated area due to the ventilation system. Since the health of the crew is such an issue apparently, when will they get rid of the permanent oil fog that you breathe in the engine room. Last time I checked, oil was a carcinogen too. And since the Navy is apparently cost conscious, how about a ban on all movies, videos, MP3 players, laptops, etc... This will support EFPH conservation just like banning smoking will support crew health. Heck, why not just ban all alcohol use inport – that way we wouldn't have to deal with all those pesky DUIs. Once upon a time, I was an MM2 who sat down and had a smoke (cigar) in the engine room with Big Al (retired COMSUBPAC).

Posted by: dillegaf
April 8th, 2010
10:51 pm ET

it's not the seond hand smoke that gets's the lack of sleep, radiation, the saltpeter and the alcoholism that really shortens your lifespan.

Posted by: ex sub
April 8th, 2010
10:55 pm ET

I was a mechanic on a 688 (nuclear trained :-) and didn't smoke. Never was a problem with my shipmates smoking because a sub is a very windy place - at least in the engineering spaces. There are more dangerous things to deal with on a sub than a cigarette. Just think about it... its a steel tube in the water filled with high pressure gas, steam, air and hydraulic oil, oh and you have pure oxygen and hydrogen. And Electricity! Forgot about the electricity... probably the most dangerous item on that list. Mix all that with 20 year olds who haven't seen a women... but I digress.

One thing this will stop is non smokers bringing smokes along to trade for getting the junkies to do your maintenance for you. One pack of smokes was worth a good Purifier cleaning on the mid watch!

Posted by: ex-submariner and nonsmoker
April 8th, 2010
10:55 pm ET

Any qualified boat sailor knows the hastles of smoking – the brown streaks on the bulkheads, the smelly butt kits, CO alarms on the atmosphere monitors, dress yellow uniforms after a westpac, cigarette butts in the bilge. The list goes on and on. My last captain put the smoking lamp out as soon as we closed the bridge access hatch. Thank God. Now I might live a little longer.

Posted by: FTC (SS/DV)
April 8th, 2010
10:56 pm ET


You state that it's unfair to make the sailors quit smoking as the Navy "fostered" the addiction in the first place by encouraging smoking during boot camp. In response to that argument, I'd have to ask when you were in bootcamp.

I went into boot in 1988. Smoking in boot was verbotten. Racks, mail, etc. were searched. Possession of cigarettes or matches/lighters was met with draconian measures (actually only happened once....everybody got the hint after that). My point would be that the Navy has gone out of it's way to break everybody of smoking (for 3 months, at least) for the last 22 years.

I highly doubt that many sailors on subs are left over from your era of encouraged smoking (and ALL would be eligable to retire). Thus, my sympathy to your argument is severely tempered.

Posted by: Inigo
April 8th, 2010
10:58 pm ET

Nice to know our Navy has such forward thinking – it's only 2010 and smoking has been banned on submarines. Impressive! Perhaps banning Navy beans on submarines wouldl freshen up the air quality a tad bit also.

Posted by: Dewey Lucas
April 8th, 2010
11:01 pm ET

As a Navy spouse for nearly 20 years, this comes as a surprise to me. I didn't know my non-smoking, very athletic husband has been breathing in second hand smoke on submarines for probably 75-80% of his adult life. I'd hate to see him get lung cancer after all his hard work and sacrifice. That is a terrible thought.

And they train so heavily to fight fires and fire is such a concern, I'm floored that smoking has been allowed. Not too brilliant a risk.

Remember Christopher Reeves' wife died of lung cancer soon after he died and she was a non-smoker who had been exposed to second-hand smoke. It happens and I don't think it should be a risk you have to take just because you are a submariner. Being on subs is risky business enough and prohibiting smoking seems like an unpopular but necessary safety move.

It will be interesting to see the success rate if you are forced to quit smoking by your environment. Maybe there's a new business here. Take a retired submarine and turn it into a smokers' rehab center.

Our society tolerates smoking because it's a free country and big business but it's not a past-time that we should be proud of. It will be very, very hard for submariners to give up smoking. I feel bad for them and those that will have to endure their resulting moodiness, but my uncle is dying from lung cancer at this very moment after a lifetime of smoking and this move will save lives, however unpopular and unpleasant. I think dying is a lot more unpleasant.

I would bet that in the short-term, this will prove very unpopular but people will adjust and down the line people won't even recall that you used to be able to smoke on submarines.

I wonder how they'll discipline those that have trouble though. If it wasn't the policy when they joined, I think they should have more lenient treatment as it is a lifestyle choice that they may not have made if smoking is that important to them had they known. But it's safer and healthier for all.

Posted by: Susan
April 8th, 2010
11:03 pm ET

Yeah, like smoking on a boomer's deck is gonna work. Those babies don't surface 'till the mission's over or the world has ended.

Posted by: Jack
April 8th, 2010
11:03 pm ET

Look at the main article, 35 to 40 percent are smokers, that means this is the minority. Why is it that we always seem to grease the squeaky wheel and loose focus on the majority. Quitting smoking is very doable, I smoked for 14 years, while in the Marines, received a pack of smokes in every C-ration pack, but that was in the days when doctors would advertise for cigarets and smoking. Face it people, times have changed, and medical findings have nothing good to say about smoking. I applaud the Navy for taking this step and looking at what the majority of submariners do.
A former serviceman.

Posted by: Gus Strauss
April 8th, 2010
11:05 pm ET

I'm all for smokers' rights, but don't ask me to breathe the same air with a smoker while confined inside a tin can.

Posted by: Steve Brown
April 8th, 2010
11:07 pm ET

Does anyone else find it ironic that smoking is even allowed in the military? While it may sound drastic to have a full ban on smoking in the military, you should consider the fact that your heath and the health of those around you directly affect mission readiness and your value to the armed forces. Why should the military promote or tolerate something that intentionally damages your body when they're constantly trying to improve it for when it matters most? They wouldn't let you stay in service if you were suicidal. How is smoking any different than being suicidal? Slowly killing your lungs and immune system because of a lack of self-control and addiction is physical and psychological weakness. I expect to receive opposition from smokers and those who support excessive rights for military members, but lets face the facts of the matter: the military isn't all about handing you a golden ticket. You make a sacrifice so that civilians can enjoy their freedom. Smoke when you get out.

Posted by: SeanJ
April 8th, 2010
11:08 pm ET

Guys- its smoking. It's not eating, breathing, drinking. It's smoking. You don't have to do it. It's stupid to do it. Subjecting non-smokers to smoke when they have no choice to get away from it is a childish, selfish, absolutely evil idea. Get over it. Smoking = Weakness. Yes it's pleasureable, but who cares. You are a soldier. You are "at war". The last thing on your mind should be a stupid cigarette. Take up another hobby that doesn't smell like crap, and make others and the room smell like crap as it kills everyone. My hobby is shooting people in the eye with a nail gun. Will you allow my freedom? I didn't think so.

Coming from an anti smoker. turned smoker, turned barely ever smoker, get over the stupid habit. Way more important things to worry about. Take all your smoke breaks and write a letter back to your family who misses you? or is that cig more important than your wife/husband and kids.

Step outside the selfish perspective of "Whaaa taken mah freedoms" and think about the BIG picture.

my $.02

Posted by: andy
April 8th, 2010
11:09 pm ET

This is a good policy, I was a submariner and a non-smoker. Space on subs are limited, there is no room for a smoke room. We lived in tight quarters, most of the time you were less than 6 feet from another person, so second hand smoke was always an issue. For all who feel sorry for smokers, remember, submariners VOLUNTEER for that duty, Nobody is forcing a smoker to serve on subs. Submariners are an elite group that depend on teamwork to survive, they have to be firefighters, HAZMAT techs, Security Officers, Line handlers, besides working in a specialty. They work in an evironment similar to outer space. They need to be in top shape, somebody who chain smokes will have health problems that will inhibit their abilities.

Posted by: Joe
April 8th, 2010
11:09 pm ET

This tells you the poor judgment of the military that they didn't ban this decades ago. You cannot have a "smoking room" on a submarine – the air quality would be too comprimised even in that situation.

Posted by: Andrew
April 8th, 2010
11:09 pm ET

FACT: Smoking causes cancer
FACT: Second hand smoke is just as if not more deadly than first hand smoke.

Since when does ANYONE have the RIGHT to knowingly force exposure of myself or any other non-smokers to WORLD recognized cancer causing agents? Bump off about your rights. You do have the right to kill yourself, but not people who choose not to try and speed up the process of death. And I hate to break fact #3 to you smokers....

FACT: Even when your not actively smoking, you still stink, and are covered in ash & residue, which contains substances..... wait for it... KNOWN TO CAUSE CANCER!!!!

And it is totally not cost justifiable, or mission essential to provide smoking booths, chambers, hothouses, or whatever other name you can come up with on a sub of any class. As for ships at sea, whats good for the goose should be good for the gander. They should ban smoking on all NAVY ships, I remember my CO used to make them stand on the fantail... rain or shine! That was the only way you were lighting up on that ship.

HECK, now that "health care reform" has arrived, I think smoking should automatically put you in a higher tax bracket to help fund your future medical care and eventual funeral.

Posted by: SuperSpanky
April 8th, 2010
11:11 pm ET

Just wonder if the Navy used the same study on secondhand smoke that everyone else did to justify this. You know, the EPA one that showed that there is no significant increase in any illness rate due to exposure to secondhand smoke.The only thing they said was that the crews were being exposed to the effects of second hand smoke, Imagine that, submariners locked in steel tubes for months on end , in a closed environment, are being exposed to secondhand smoke. I would be more concerned with the grease, amine,diesel fumes,various lubricants,dozens of chemicals, and bodily waste products that "enrich" the athmosphere and create that unique boat smell of legend.

Posted by: retired submariner
April 8th, 2010
11:11 pm ET

Gym – e-cigarettes don't work. They're a scam. Plus, they do release toxins.

Posted by: Andrew
April 8th, 2010
11:11 pm ET

except for the ludicrous comment by a (go figure) jarhead...I would like to point out one thing that I have not seen mentioned....the Navy is an inherently dangerous environment.
I was surface Navy, and was still exposed to an absolutely insane amount of carcinogens.
I wonder if anyone really believes this will enhance health of any sailor because there is less/no secondhand smoke???? Plain silly assumption....

Posted by: greyhound_navy
April 8th, 2010
11:14 pm ET

everyone on a sub is a VOLUNTEER..........If you want to smoke, then dont volunteer. DUHHHH...........

Posted by: mee too
April 8th, 2010
11:14 pm ET

I quit after smoking 2 packs a day for decades so it's possible for anyone to do so. Nicotine therapy and a desire to quit is all that is necessary.

Posted by: monasterymonkey
April 8th, 2010
11:15 pm ET

Hopefully, this will not be cause for the Captains to surface more times than necessary, so that 40% of his crew can smoke.

Posted by: Geoff
April 8th, 2010
11:17 pm ET

...and now U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. stock has gone through the roof....

Posted by: CJ Topspin
April 8th, 2010
11:19 pm ET

Prejudice against the smokers? Have you been in the military? For years they have gotten nothing but assistance in their addiction. My husband was a submariner for 9 years and has first hand knowledge of how smokers got better treatment. Smokers were given breaks, while non-smokers continued training (we aren't talking boot camp here). In order for my husband to get a 5-10 minute break during his training, he would have had to taken up smoking. Is this the message we are suppose to be sending? That the 30-40% who smoke on an submarine are allowed to endanger the lives of the rest of the crew? Have you ever been on a submarine? Imagine living in your closet for up to 6 months at a time? They are already smelly and uncomfortable, then you add the smoking. There is no damn reason for anyone to smoke and if you can't quit then change duty stations. You also can't drink on U.S. Submarines, but you don't see anyone taking up for the alcoholics.

Posted by: kimber
April 8th, 2010
11:21 pm ET

Maybe take up dipping.

Posted by: Yossarian 213
April 8th, 2010
11:21 pm ET

I didn't even knew they can smoke in a submarine. It's too stuffy in there as it is.

Posted by: JoJo
April 8th, 2010
11:22 pm ET

if 40% of the submariners are smokers, then just make 40% of the fleet smoking boats.

The other 60% can be for the non-smokers.

Posted by: James
April 8th, 2010
11:24 pm ET

I started smoking when another crewman wanted to get rid of his cigarettes and he gave them to me and told me to SELL them to him if he asked for them back. This was 40 cartons, Marlboro Red. In the 80's, the Navy Exchange would sell them to deploying ships cheap, about $1.50 a carton when a pack cost about $1.00 out in the town. They were cheap because taxes didn't have to be paid because they were going to be used out of the country. I don't know if they still do this. I can't tell you exactly what we were doing but for 29 days we were under extreme pressure. I started smoking but I always told myself I would quit before I was 30. We ended up being under water for 59 days and about half way thru I was making money on that guy.We pretty much ended up running out of cigarettes and were fighting over them. I quit the day I turned 30, a civilian, cold turkey. I just know what these guys are going through.

Posted by: p a m
April 8th, 2010
11:27 pm ET

Oh, and when I was on the boat, the only place you could smoke was in the Torpedo room. Full of weapons. SSN697

Posted by: p a m
April 8th, 2010
11:28 pm ET

Strange to note that smoking among the general public is about 23-24%. So why is it 35-40% in the Navy.

Posted by: Daniel
April 8th, 2010
11:29 pm ET

It's time for tobacco to go the way of the dinosaur. Let's grow something that makes humans healthy instead of killing them by the thousands

Posted by: Mary
April 8th, 2010
11:31 pm ET

Im in the Air Force and I would like to remind other military memebers that you volunteered for this! You dont have rights anymore! Get over it.

Posted by: AirForceSrA
April 8th, 2010
11:34 pm ET

It isn't as simple as separate quarters and a cheap HEPA filter. The air filtration system on submarines is very specific and complicated. There is enough confinement without adding to things with additional air filtration systems and individual quarters. These ships are created for specific purposes and being submerged undersea doesn't make for a lot of natural fresh air, so the crews know what to expect. If a lot of the crew smokes, the rest are usually exposed to it; plus it has to be safer to not allow smoking onboard since the interiors are so cramped fire can spread quickly. Smoking and submarines not a good mix in general. Perhaps it will help some sailors quit, which would be best for them in the long run, but it is never easy.

Posted by: CColon
April 8th, 2010
11:34 pm ET

Smoking in an enclosed space deep below sea is idiotic anyway. Total disrespect of the non-smokers.

Posted by: Nick
April 8th, 2010
11:40 pm ET

I just got off a submarine about 8 months ago (USS Memphis). I was offered 60k to stick around on land and teach new kids how submarines work. I turned it down because of things like this.

The stories that dad or gramps used to tell about the Navy are over. Everybody who joins up with submarines does it not because we paid a whopping extra $100 a month, but because we want to do something challenging and adventurous. We wanted to see foreign lands and come back with stories of our own.

Those days are gone. The Navy is too careful, too PC, too straight and narrow. Good people are leaving in droves because the math just doesn't work and the people who replace them are getting worse and worse.

I would have no problem enlisting for the Navy my grandpa was in, but not anymore.

Expect resistance on this one, though, the people who actually do stay in the Navy after this won't go down without a fight.

Posted by: ET2 SS Willi
April 8th, 2010
11:40 pm ET

Hey that1guy, are you seriously suggesting that the Navy should make designated smoking areas with airlocks on a submarine? These are WARSHIPS, not rastaurants or martini bars. The people are aboard to service the machine, not the other way around. Smoking is a foul deadly habit that has absolutely no positive aspects except to feed the addictions of those who partake. No accomodations whatsoever should be made for this pointless habit. The Navy shoudn't spend a penny or one second of time on smokers and smoking. It fouls the air, leaves ash all around sensitive electronic equipment, and is certainly a fire hazard. Boo hoo for the smokers. Smoking isn't that hard to quit if YOU WANT TO QUIT, especially at the age of most sailors..

Besides, the military shold be fostering a healthy lifestyle, which means NO SMOKING. Whatever they did years ago is irrelevant.

Posted by: vmaxnc
April 8th, 2010
11:41 pm ET

WOW! What the Navy failed to say is that the atmosphere onboard a submarine is already really bad and although there have been studies before they have not acted on the other atmosphere contaminants. A few posts have talked about the stress onboard a submarine... Let me just say that because the poll says 35 – 40% smoke, this is just not true, there are a lot more that smoke "only" underway... So they do not consider themselves 'smokers'. The ventilation system on a submarine is set up to have a very high turnover and/or half-life. It can handle the problem of smoke from cigarettes... it is the other contaminants that the Navy does not want to act on... This is what CNN should be reporting on!

Posted by: retired EMCS (SS)
April 8th, 2010
11:42 pm ET

I am stunned that smoking on submarines was not banned years ago. That said, and recognizing the things sailors give up to serve on a submarine, it doesn't seem quite fair to ban smoking entirely. The air filtration / processing systems on modern submarines is good enough to eliminate 99.90% of pollutants / CO. I suppose the genius that is enacted this has also funded and issued nicotine patches to all of the affected sailors.

Posted by: Scott
April 8th, 2010
11:43 pm ET

non-smoking equals healthier, which equals more bang for the taxpayer buck.

Posted by: johnnyb
April 8th, 2010
11:44 pm ET

Simple. Force your people off the ships and open up new slots for younger people who never were exposed to pro-smoking culter, promoted to begin with largely by the military. Then go to engagements without those people who smoke. Who is balancing the risks and the benefits? I personally hate these kinds of oppressive rules, but who knows - maybe the smoking GIs in WWII weren't necessary.

Posted by: William Davis
April 8th, 2010
11:44 pm ET

I was a smoker and Quit after having people tell me how unhealty the smoke was for the lungs. Try chewing tobaco, it will do the saome thing as nicotine and save the other hands from the second hand smoke. it worked for me!

Posted by: George, ex.submariner of the 50's
April 8th, 2010
11:51 pm ET

All I need to say is DUH!!! Does the word common sense mean anything here?

Posted by: CalTek
April 8th, 2010
11:51 pm ET

I can really see the guy on the controls saying hey chief I need my 10 minute smoke break

Draconian, yes this is why not everyone is not cut out to be in the Millitary

Posted by: Tom
April 8th, 2010
11:52 pm ET

The policy is ill concieved if, as it is reported, it was initiated solely for the health of the sailors who choose not to smoke.
I submit that prohibiting smoking on submarines is unfair to the sailors who are smokers.
I further submit that a reasonable policy would establish the date when smoking on submarines will be prohibited, provide cessation programs for those who elect to participate, and allow immediate permanent change of duty station to those smokers who either are unable to or choose not to stop smoking by the ban date.

Posted by: Kevinnnnn
April 8th, 2010
11:52 pm ET

Boy Scout merit badges all around! What a farce, I am sure the least of the atmospheric worries is smoke from cigarettes. Welcome to the Navy, leave your dignity at the enlistment station and prepare for your indentured servitude. Nice to see the people on the front line are subject to the whim capricious leadership, now about those strawberries...

Posted by: Retiredmmcmss
April 8th, 2010
11:54 pm ET

The Navy will pay a heavy toll in the loss of solid sailors. They maybe replaced eventually, but with less skilled sailors.Do we really want a navy with inferior sailors for the next 10 years or so. Second hand smoke is a crock unless your actually face to face within inches. Dilution is the solution, always has and always will. As for employers not hiring smokers whom shall it be next.....those who are obese, how about those who have a medical pre-exsisting condition, how about the occasional social drinker who wore the lamp shade at the office party while the inebriated boss was humping the passed out sexratery.

Posted by: Dale
April 8th, 2010
11:55 pm ET

As a former Submariner (Nuclear MM2 aboard USS Bremerton SSN 698), and a smoker on board that very boat, I can tell you that this will serve to increase the sale of chew logs in ports of call and probably not much else. I never dipped, but I can't imagine a 55 day underway when I was using nicotine without a fix. As for health and safety, we smoked into the air scrubbers, it's not like an airplane. There are systems specifically designed to remove the toxic elements from the air, hence the ability to stay down for the aforementioned 55 days (yes, it sucked). This reeks of somebody trying to justify their job far away from the fleet at sea by making "the big move" that will revolutionize the sub force. Don't buy it. I'm just glad I'm out and don't have to see twice as many of those little spit bottles that turned up everywhere I had to clean.

Posted by: Tim
April 8th, 2010
11:56 pm ET

This is silly.. What the Military does to the people who join its ranks is pretty silly. I was around for the great Naval purge of 91-93, amazing silly time that was, saw many a good career detsroyed.

Posted by: Silly
April 8th, 2010
11:57 pm ET

This is pointless, or catering to some whiners complaining... Anyone serving on a modern sub could tell you that dangers of fire from smoke in a regulated area is very safe.......

Morons smoking while servicing cooling tubes and O2 scrubbers... thats different...

Posted by: John Q Public
April 8th, 2010
11:58 pm ET

get em some e-cigs.. they work the best for enclosed spaces.. and no smoke..

Posted by: joe
April 9th, 2010
12:06 am ET

Having quit the cigarette about 4 years ago, I am reminded every day of why I quit. You don't fully realize how bad it makes your breath and clothes smell until you quit and have to be around others who still smoke. You will never realize the stress you are placing your body and heart under, typically 20 – 30 times a day when you light that stick up. I agree with the point that NavySubmariner is making; that the Navy should BAN smoking altogether. I never smoked until I went to boot camp. Just like that1guy, I saw that you could get a break away from the Drill Instructors for 5 or 10 minutes and I picked it up. Smoking should be banned in any service, on any government property and even in our National Parks, unless you are in your car with the windows rolled up. Nothing worse than an ex-smoker! LOL!

Posted by: EX Smoker Marine
April 9th, 2010
12:09 am ET

Good luck; Smokers will switch to smokeless tobacco, a la Snus or chew. The Navy banned cigarettes on aircraft, and every smoker now dips in flight, in addition to smoking when on the ground or off the aircraft. Healthy alternative? Hardly.

E Cigarettes were the rage recently, until word came down that they were also banned on board Navy aircraft...shortly thereafter, all the E-smokers were right back to their tin of Skoal and an empty cup. Sailors will continue to deal with the stress and BS of being in the military the same way they have for years...booze and tobacco.

Anyone not in the military who has a comment on this matter ought to think a minute about every decision they make during a day, and then consider how they'd feel if someone else made all of those decisions for them. Small freedoms pay off big time in terms of morale; only time will tell how this decision plays out in one of the most high stress environments in the fleet.

Posted by: Brett
April 9th, 2010
12:10 am ET

One more example of how smokers have become second class citizens. Welcome to of the long as you do what we say...

Posted by: Scott
April 9th, 2010
12:14 am ET

Good ridance and and long overdue. There are no "safe" places for us who choose to remain healthy if there is smoking in ANY enclosed area. It's about time the U.S. military took some responsibility for the health of their personnel.
Smoking should be banned on ALL U.S. bases, in all enclosed areas.

Posted by: TJCook
April 9th, 2010
12:18 am ET

This action is probably to prepare for the female Sailors coming aboard and the need to protect their health prior to or being pregnant. I belive amine and disel fumes are carcinogens also. Why not refit the subs to remove this also.

Posted by: lsuaj
April 9th, 2010
12:18 am ET

The sailors will simply switch to e-cigs. The same thing smokers in office buildings are doing. The air on a sub is extremely well scrubbed and second-hand smoke isn't quite the problem you might imagine.

Posted by: Chris
April 9th, 2010
12:30 am ET

What a bunch of sissies! I hope enrollment drops by 20% (roughly the exact percentage of sailor's who enjoy a smoke now and then!)

Posted by: Jimbo
April 9th, 2010
12:31 am ET

Spent a long time on a sub...common sense says nuclear power makes subs go...WRONG. Nicotine, Caffeine and Pornography makes subs go. Cutting out one leg of the tripod is a bad idea, and I'm a non-smoker.

Posted by: Pat
April 9th, 2010
12:33 am ET

I can't say I know much about living underwater, or serving in any branch of the military. I'm on day 11 of qutting smoking with Chanix. There are places I used to smoke that have half smoked cigarettes of varying lengths and this medication works so well, cleaning them up isn't even a pirority. But the side effects – the warnings concern me.

I wouldn't go so far as recommending this to people that live that long underwater. Do ships have doctors that will prescribe this medication? Is it carried on board in some kind of pharmacy? And what if the sailors start thinking suicidal thoughts, after being prescribed this medication. Are there trained proffesionals available to offer psycological treatment over and above what's already available? Will their status aboard ship be affected by using these services?

Posted by: Erech1447
April 9th, 2010
12:33 am ET

I quit smoking tobacco twenty years ago this month. Since then, I have noticed tobacco smokers are some of the most inconsiderate people on the planet. They don't care if you or I have to smell and/or breath that filthy crap, They also don't give a damn where they leave their ashes and butts.


Posted by: mistertroll
April 9th, 2010
12:35 am ET

This is long overdue. The military is very hypocritical in that they expect their personnel not to do drugs, yet they allow what amounts to cigarette smoking drug addicts to smoke their brains out.

Posted by: Rod
April 9th, 2010
12:39 am ET

I am so glad we paid for a study that determined smoke stays in a submarine.

Posted by: Brent
April 9th, 2010
12:49 am ET

Smart move, 24 missiles 8? nukes each with couple hundred guys in control all going thru withdrawals. makes me feel real secure.

Posted by: Bill
April 9th, 2010
12:51 am ET

Any human being willing to die for me who wants a cigarette, I'd gladly say here's one and may I light it for you!

Posted by: billygoatguff
April 9th, 2010
12:59 am ET

Time to invest in chewing tobacco companies!

Posted by: Ron
April 9th, 2010
1:01 am ET

the notion that second hand smoke causes health problems is propaganda at best

Posted by: Pelis
April 9th, 2010
1:02 am ET

I was an ELT on board a 688 from 2003-2006. This is really going to hurt the navy. They already cannot get enough nukes to run the submarine fleet as it is. No one will want to deploy on a submarine anymore (submarines are volunteer). I know alot of people used smokeless, so get ready for a huge jump in mouth cancer, looks great with a uniform.

The submarine has an enclosed ventilation system, we could only smoke by the shaft on my ship (where there was 0 foot traffic, only the smokers). It was drawn into the ventilation system where it would be cleaned with all the other air. If they want to cry about air quality, I would look alot harder at the amines we would breath in for months at a time.

A cigarette break and coffee is the only good thing you get on a sub. Theres no fresh food, no breeze, no sunshine. To take away one of the few pleasures a volunteer has is ludacris. There will be a huge drop in nuclear submariners. And a sharp increase in mouth cancer. Way to go navy.

Posted by: X-submariner
April 9th, 2010
1:04 am ET

Just make smoking subs vs non smoking subs....

Posted by: Jeff
April 9th, 2010
1:06 am ET

They don't have to give up nicotine when they stop smoking. Nicotine gum does the job. Kicking the nicotine habit is very difficult. Switching to nicotine gum is very easy.

Posted by: DaveC
April 9th, 2010
1:18 am ET

I think that this is just an overblown case of protecting everyone's feelings. (Current Navy and former smoker, 9 yrs smoking, 1 yr smoke free–FYI) What DOESN'T cause cancer nowadays? After this, what? Are we going to restrict operations making sure they are only held at night because we don't want to expose our Military members to harmful UVA/UVB rays? Or are we going to hold their hands and made sure they put on SPF 80 sunscreen every hour when working in the sun? Or you what, let's ban Simple Green because I am sure that isn't doing any good for my respiratory system when I use it to clean 3 times a day.

That being said, I understand how disgusting the smell of cigarette smoke can be to a non-smoke and I sympathize. Just like the smell of the dirt-bag who never showers is offensive to those of us who like to bathe, or the smell of cologne is offensive to someone who is allergic to strong scents.

The point is, this is a a PR thing If the Military wants healthier service members, they need to first look at the food and water they provide that we HAVE to partake of, and THEN focus on own personal choices (the few that we are actually allowed to still truly make for ourselves because as it was mentioned above, once that right hand is raised, we are Government Property)

Posted by: Medusa Scorpion
April 9th, 2010
1:18 am ET

That's not going to stop them from smoking, when I was on a ship and they put the smoking lamp out to refuel or something everyone just went into their spaces and they knew what the best places were. My division owned the well deck so people would just go on the wing walls and smoke

Posted by: Josh
April 9th, 2010
1:27 am ET

All they have done is forced the smokers to start using chewing tobacco.

Posted by: Jim
April 9th, 2010
1:32 am ET

So when is the commander in chief going to be required to quit?

I'm a non-smoker former submariner. I think that the decision is stupid.

Posted by: Robert Richardson
April 9th, 2010
1:38 am ET

You can no longer smoke during Navy basic training. So every one who has joined the Navy since that started(years ago) chose to take up the habit again after basic. It is all about choosing to stop...and if you want to stay subs you'll stop smoking. If you don't want to quit smoking, you'll whine about it and have to go to a surface ship. These people aren't being kicked out of the Navy for smoking and should all look at it as a chance to add years onto their life after their Navy service is complete.

Posted by: Johnson
April 9th, 2010
1:44 am ET

As a submariner, I was both a non-smoker and also a smoker at times underway. I can only speak from my experience as a “Boomer Sailor”, but we did not experience problems with non-smokers being affected by smokers. We had a strict policy of the smoking area and a limit of the number of smokers at one time. Again we may not have had confrontations or problems because of our size. However, captains will still have the ultimate power and say on what happens below decks on their boats. If they allow smoking regardless of what policy says, then it will happen. What happens at sea, stays at sea.

Posted by: ET2/SS (737B)
April 9th, 2010
1:47 am ET

This is a stupid new rule. Submarine life is hard enough and more stress then just about any other job there is. when you add to that a mandatory requirement to quit smoking God help those on board those subs as things will get very nasty. They were only allowed to smoke in certain areas that venting anyway. 40 percent of submariners smoke (that is the conservative estimate that their PR folks use). Just not a good idea. The service in general is hard enough but making the lives of these people worse just does not make sense.

Posted by: David Conley
April 9th, 2010
1:54 am ET

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

Posted by: Will McMahon
April 9th, 2010
2:05 am ET

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

Posted by: Joe
April 9th, 2010
2:08 am ET

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.

Posted by: SubNuke
April 9th, 2010
2:21 am ET

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.

Posted by: IT1-USN
April 9th, 2010
2:28 am ET

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???

Posted by: Ken
April 9th, 2010
2:45 am ET

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

Posted by: USA
April 9th, 2010
3:12 am ET

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.

Posted by: kbreak
April 9th, 2010
5:52 am ET

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!

Posted by: joeblow
April 9th, 2010
11:00 am ET

Smoking cessation medication (Zyban, Chantix, etc) are not allowed – they are sub disqualifying

Posted by: Dillegaf
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