The Tobacco Policy Study noted that military personal and leaders do not view tobacco use as having high DoD health-service priority; other more pressing issues take precedence. It is also the opinion of some junior enlisted personnel that numerous senior leaders still view smoking as being as socially acceptable as when they joined the military in the 1970s (Haddock, 2008). Those perceptions inhibit actions against tobacco use.
Although the Army and Air Force recognize that work breaks for tobacco users and nontobacco users are equal, there is a perception among junior enlisted personnel that those who smoke or use tobacco products have longer and more frequent respites from work. For example, Haddock (2008) found that “smoking is one of the only reasons a military member can take a break or leave a duty area…. Breaks for other reasons are not socially sanctioned.”
A junior enlisted member commented on the lack of freedom in the military for some activities, such as drinking alcohol, sex, and listening to music. Haddock (2008) stated that the ability to smoke a cigarette, however, restores a sense of personal freedom that may have dissipated because of those restrictions.
Close monitoring of weight seems omnipresent in the military; those who exceed weight guidelines are reprimanded. As reported by a junior enlisted nonsmoker, weight control is another reason cited for tobacco use: “I know a lot of soldiers have told me that they want to quit, but one deterrent to quit smoking is that they’re afraid they’re going to gain weight, and that’s a big deterrent.” According to the 2005 DoD survey of health-related behaviors, about 4.6% of those who smoke regularly reported that they started smoking to avoid gaining weight, and 6.4% said that they started smoking to control appetite (DoD, 2006).
Interviews with policy leaders demonstrated that tobacco policies and their enforcement, or lack thereof, are inconsistent among