US Navy introduces smoking ban on submarines

Dec 31, 2010

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 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.

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User comments : 14

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Doug_Huffman
1 / 5 (2) Dec 31, 2010
So, will correlation become cause when the next 'accident' happens?

Ex SSN-660
Gary7
4 / 5 (4) Dec 31, 2010
Smoking is being stopped on submarines? Why was is ever allowed? With confined spaces, no fresh air for prolonged periods, and a high fire risk, smoking should never have been permitted in the first place.
ryggesogn2
1.2 / 5 (5) Dec 31, 2010
Smoking is being stopped on submarines? Why was is ever allowed? With confined spaces, no fresh air for prolonged periods, and a high fire risk, smoking should never have been permitted in the first place.

Ever been on a sub? It is probably the healthiest environment in the world even with smokers (except for the vitamin D issue). Air is filtered and scrubbed every 2 minutes. Water is distilled and they have the best food the Navy can offer.
Doug_Huffman
2 / 5 (3) Dec 31, 2010
Stale cigarette smoke is the least of the noxious atmospheric components.

'Number two' sewage sanitary tanks are blown overboard with high pressure air that is subsequently vented inboard and 'recycled' except for the very largest molecules, that verge on chunks, brown chunks, that might get stuck in the filters.

Fresh air smells and tastes like a cut copper-penny.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 31, 2010
Ever been on a sub? It is probably the healthiest environment in the world
You've never been on a sub at sea or your standard of comparison is quite poor. A surfaced sub has a very powerful ventilation system. A submerged sub is a very, very disgusting environment. I think Doug can back me up on this. He sounds as though he has experience with the systems.
nada
4.3 / 5 (3) Dec 31, 2010

Ever been on a sub? It is probably the healthiest environment in the world even with smokers (except for the vitamin D issue). Air is filtered and scrubbed every 2 minutes. Water is distilled and they have the best food the Navy can offer.


LOL, now contrast that with the Airlines! Diesel fumes in the cabins, crap falling on your head and $50 for crackers and water. And lets not forget the porn photo shoot and free groaping.

Maybe we should all take a submarine to our next vacation destination! LOL
desotojohn
5 / 5 (2) Dec 31, 2010
The air on a nuclear submarine is disgusting. Cigarette smoke mixed with amine from the scrubbers coats the walls with a dark oily substance. Even freshly washed clothes smell horrible. You get used to the smell until you go topside. You can smell a submarine sailor 10 feet away if they haven't showered and put on fresh clothes.
Shootist
1 / 5 (4) Dec 31, 2010
Army used to give us a ration of 5 cigarettes per meal.

Civilization has gone to hell.
eachus
not rated yet Jan 01, 2011
"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."

These are of course, the new French flying submarines, with a promenade deck where smokers can enjoy the fresh air while the sub is airborne. ;-)
Doug_Huffman
1 / 5 (1) Jan 02, 2011
Hence the flying torpedoes, photos of which having surfaced over the years. Helicopters are used as training targets. One story has the very persistent but stupid weapon trying three times to get the dipping chopper.

Perhaps airborne submarines will be attractive to their new gender neutral crews. Winged pigboats with lipstick are still pigboats.
AyYa
5 / 5 (1) Jan 02, 2011

The fact that the air constantly smells of Amine does not necessarily equal bad air quality. For those not in the know, Amine is the liquid that is used to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere to be released overboard at a later time. Due to that process, the air will hold the smell of the chemical. True, when we ventilate on the surface, it is a nice respite due to the "freshness" of the air because the Amine smell is gone for a moment, however, when we close the lid and go deep, we have an extensive filtration and atmospheric monitoring system (can anyone say CAMS?) in place. Being an instructor and technician on said monitoring system, I can say that it keeps us in better shape than my current place of employment.The only diference being the smell of Amine. Now saying we had the best food in the Navy... heh. That may be true, but it's akin to saying a punch in the face is better than a kick to the groin.
Doug_Huffman
1 / 5 (1) Jan 02, 2011
Continuous Air Monitoring System.

What is the permissible monoethanolamine level for continuous exposure and what is the the odor threshold? The odor threshold is NIOSH/ACGIH the 10 h/d - 40 h/wk exposure level. There is not, that I know, a permissible continuous exposure level.

CAMS does not comply with NIOSH/OSHA monitoring measuring requirements. USN is its own authority.
ormondotvos
not rated yet Jan 02, 2011
Every little bureaucrat is their own authority these days. Learned it from Nixon "If the President does it, it's lawful!"
AyYa
not rated yet Jan 06, 2011
Actually it is Central Atmospheric Monitoring System. And it is not regulated to comply with, however it does comply with NIOSH/ACGIH. I like how you ask a question just to answer it. Not sure who you were trying to impress, however. Yourself or us?