17 April 1986 Army Proclamation against Smoking

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20310-0200

17 April 1986


The readiness and well being of Total Army members and their families challenge us to deal with the problem of tobacco use. Medical evidence shows overwhelmingly that the use of tobacco products adversely impacts on the health and readiness of our force. Tobacco usage impairs such critical military skills as night vision, hand-eye coordination, and resistance to cold weather injuries. Moreover, it increases susceptibility to disease. It has become a substantial threat to the well-being of our Army, and we must take immediate steps to eliminate its usage.

Every Army member is charged to make this goal a reality. All of us have a clear responsibility in making this happen. As part of the Army Tobacco Cessation Action Plan, we will encourage smokers to quit through a program of education, information, and assistance. We will also safeguard the health of smokers and nonsmokers alike by limiting the areas in which smoking will be permitted. Finally, we will check on all forms of tobacco usage from time to time to determine progress in meeting our goal. We believe this campaign is absolutely essential to maintain the health and readiness of our Army

Ours is a profession unique in many respects, requiring physical fitness and stamina to get the job done. Each of us must be ready physically to endure the strains of a crisis. Additionally, caring leadership dictates that we demonstrate a sincere, unambiguous concern for the health and safety of those entrusted to our care.

  John A. Wickham, Jr.                                                   John O. Marsh, Jr.
JOHN A. WICKHAM, JR.                                                 John O. Marsh, Jr.
General, United States Army                                              Secretary of the Army
Chief of Staff

The above is the policy ON PAPER. The reality is, removal for advocacy of action pursuant to its principles, medical facts, and controlling laws and regulations.

See also related material by Frederick N. Dyer, Ph.D., Smoking and Soldier Performance, USAARL Report No. 86-13, U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory (Fort Rucker, AL) (June 1986), and especially this conclusion: "Undoubtedly, if the military [would obey hiring rules that] restrict enlistments to nonsmokers, there would be far fewer discipline, alcoholism, and drug-abuse problems in the Army."
Due to the already known medical data on smoking, impaired readiness, and misconduct, the Army used to not enlist smokers. Judicial notice was taken of that fact in 1898! Austin v State, 101 Tenn 563, 566-567; 48 SW 305, 306, aff'd 179 US 343; 21 S Ct 132; 45 L Ed 224 (1900).
Notice the continuing smoking problem, cited by Samantha L. Quigley, "Negative Effects of Smoking Not Deterring Servicemembers" (American Forces Press Service, 16 August 2005).

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