Army Cracking Down on Smoking in Offices, Vehicles
The Army is mounting an unusually strong crackdown on smoking that will impose new restrictions in its military and civilian offices and ban smoking in Army vehicles and aircraft.
A two-page directive, sent to Army installations last week and obtained Wednesday, outlines the new policy and states that its goal is to make “non-smoking the norm for Department of Army-occupied buildings and work areas.”
The decision, made by Army Secretary John O. Marsh Jr. and Gen. John A. Wickham Jr., the Army’s chief of staff, was described by officials Wednesday as a response to a “health promotion program” ordered by Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger on March 11.
Tobacco interests condemned it immediately as unenforceable and called it “the military equivalent of a blue law.”
The policy, effective July 7, “essentially reverses our entire orientation,” said Maj. Bruce Bell, speaking for the Army.
“Instead of saying that smoking is allowed except where specifically prohibited, this says smoking is prohibited except for certain exceptions,” Bell said.
The new rule will apply to the Army’s 781,000 soldiers as well as its civilian force of about 450,000 employees and to every office, base or facility “over which the Department of Army has custody and control.” Thus it also will cover Army offices in the Pentagon.
The directive says that a soldier or civilian worker who refuses to comply with no-smoking rules will be subject “to adverse administrative action.”