Friday, December 31, 2010

Now Hear This: The Smoking Lam Is Out Through Out The Sub

At midnight on New Years Eve the smoking lamp will be out on all U.S. Navy Submarines.

The smoking ban will be an effort to help non-smokers from second hand smoke. Second hand smoke puts those who are exposed to it at risk for heart and lung disease.

Recent test confirm that the air purification system currently in use does not eliminate second hand smoke from the sub, so the only way to do so is to stop smoking aboard submarines.

The Navy has been preparing it submariner crews for the change. Approximately 40 percent of submariners are now smokers. The Navy offers smoking cessation classes, nicotine gum and patches to help sailors stop smoking. The Navy has also taken other steps such as limiting the time periods, and the number of personnel allowed in the smoking area at one time.

"This is a very high-stress job," Navy Master Chief Petty Officer of the USS Rhode Island told reporters. "We push our crews very hard every day, 12 to 18 hours a day, and smoking is how they relax. Some people are saying they don't want to stay on subs because they can't smoke."

Command Master Chief, Richard Rose, the blue crew master chief of the USS Georgia said "Not being able to smoke onboard after December 31st will be difficult for some."

Well, I am sure we can all see the handwriting on the wall. It will not be much longer before the Navy, and probably all of the military services will be either completely smoke free, or those who do will be stuck in some little hole with air purifiers going full blast.

Smoking is bad for the health, everyone knows that; we all should stop, but it is a very hard road to quitting. And this is all becoming a little "big brother" like. To be forced to quit smoking just does not seem the right think to do.

I applaud the Navy for taking such a bold step, and it was not one taken lightly. The health of all of our military members must be one of the top priorities. The services have done an outstanding job in helping members who are overweight to lose those extra pounds.

But I must as a question. If someone sneaks off for a quick smoke will be mean Captain's Mast? Will promotions be denied to smokers? What next, will a member be limited to the number of children they can have?

---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996