forbidden while they are at the Academy and later in the Air Force and that their graduating class would be the first to be commissioned with the expectation that they remain tobacco-free during their military careers.
People who are accepted into the US military academies already constitute an elite group of high-school seniors. Selection for each service academy is extremely competitive, and the committee believes that adding the expectation of a tobacco-free lifestyle is unlikely to be seen as too severe a challenge. A similar approach could be used for other officer-commissioning programs, such as the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). Before entry into these training programs, all officer candidates would be informed that the military policy for officers is that they not use any tobacco products during their active-duty military careers.
Shortly after or simultaneously with the institution of the tobacco-free policy for new officer accessions, a similar plan could be established for new enlistees. Establishing a tobacco-free policy for military personnel that continues after the completion of initial basic training and into the advanced and technical training schools might be relatively easy. The committee finds that an extended period of nonuse of tobacco during advanced and technical training should make it easier for enlisted personnel to remain tobacco-free. The ban on tobacco use could eventually be extended to all new enlistees, who would be informed during recruitment that tobacco use would be prohibited during active-duty military service, and that new military service members would be expected to remain tobacco-free during their entire military careers. Recruits and trainees would be given all necessary assistance to remain tobacco-free. If such a ban is in place within a year of the release of this report, the military might be virtually tobacco-free within 20 years although the committee expects that, except for a few highly addicted smokers, the goal could be reached sooner.
In preparing this report, the committee was struck by a contradiction: DoD and the four armed services acknowledge that tobacco use impairs the readiness of military personnel and results in enormous costs to service members, but DoD still sells tobacco products at a discount, permits tobacco use in some areas of military installations (including the military service academies), and has given tobacco use less attention than alcohol abuse, physical fitness, and weight management. In the future, tobacco use in the military should be treated in the same way as these other health-related behaviors. Current policies mandate that service members who do not pass their annual physical fitness examinations engage in extra physical-conditioning programs, those who are overweight are often required to attend weight-management programs, and those identified as having had alcohol-