217372 Forcing the Navy to sell cigarettes on ships: How the tobacco industry and politicians torpedoed Navy tobacco control

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Naphtali Offen, BS , Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Nursing, UCSF, San Francisco, CA
Elizabeth Smith, PhD , Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Ruth Malone, RN, PhD, FAAN , Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
In 1986, the U.S. Navy announced a goal of making the Navy smoke-free by the year 2000. In 1993, the captain of the USS Roosevelt established the first smokefree aircraft carrier, and banned sales of cigarettes in the ship's store. His policy was quickly reversed as tobacco-friendly Congressmen serving on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) applied pressure to the highest officials in the Navy. At the behest of tobacco industry lobbyists, Congress passed a law mandating that tobacco be sold aboard all Naval ships, and assumed authority over the ships' stores, reducing a revenue stream previously dedicated to morale, welfare, and recreation activities for sailors. The Navy abandoned their smoke-free goal entirely and issued a policy that promised smokers a place to smoke on all Navy ships, regardless of ventilation requirements or ship captains' desires. Congressional complicity in promoting the agenda of the tobacco industry thwarted the Navy's efforts to achieve a healthy military workforce. The June 2009 recommendation by the Institute of Medicine for an entirely smokefree military can only be realized by convincing Congress to repeal these and other tobacco-friendly measures enacted over the years. Exposing the role of the tobacco industry in setting military policy via its generous contributions to key Congressional decision-makers, educating about the harms to military readiness caused by tobacco use, and highlighting the enormous costs associated with tobacco use among veterans may contribute to achieving this goal.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Analyze the role of the tobacco industry and Congress in overriding tobacco-control measures implemented by the Navy

Keywords: Tobacco Policy, Tobacco Industry

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am lead author on a paper analyzing tobacco documents research on this topic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.