US Navy to ban smoking on submarines


Washington : The US Navy will ban smoking on its submarines to protect nonsmokers from passive smoking, particularly women, who will begin serving alongside men on subs, a media report said.

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The ban will come into force Dec 31. In February, the US Navy announced that women sailors would begin serving on submarines.

The navy called for the ban after testing aboard subs found “unacceptable levels” of secondhand smoke, despite air purification systems, the Christian Science Monitor reported Thursday.

“The only way to eliminate risk to our nonsmoking sailors is to stop smoking aboard our submarines,” said Vice Adm. John Donnelly, commander of the submarine forces, in a statement.

Submariners, who serve in what’s known as “the silent service”, will see a lot of change in their culture.

The Pentagon notified Congress that it would end the longstanding ban on female sailors serving alongside men in the close quarters of submarines. The Navy will begin integrating men and women in phases.

The “no smoking” decision follows a Surgeon General report in 2006 that found involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke poses health risks. As a result, the navy conducted a year-long test aboard nine subs, concluding that nonsmoking sailors were exposed to “measurable levels” of secondhand smoke.

The navy will help sailors who smoke by offering programmes to help them quit and making nicotine patches and gum available on each boat.