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US Navy bans smoking on submarines: Report

WASHINGTON (PTI): The US Navy will ban smoking on all its submarines this year to eliminate risk to non-smoker sailors, including women, after testing aboard found "unacceptable levels" of second hand smoke, a media report said.

The ban will come into force December 31. The decision follows the February announcement by the US Navy that women sailors will begin serving alongside men on submarines.

"The only way to eliminate risk to our non-smoking sailors is to stop smoking aboard our submarines," said Vice Adm John Donnelly, commander of the submarine forces, in a statement.

The "no smoking" decision follows a Surgeon General report in 2006 that found involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke poses health risks.

As a result, the Navy conducted a year-long test aboard nine subs, concluding that non-smoking sailors were exposed to "measurable levels" of second hand smoke, the Christian Science Monitor reported today.

Submariners, who serve in what's known as the "silent service", will see a lot of change in their culture, the newspaper said.

The Navy will help sailors who smoke by offering programs to help them quit and making nicotine patches and gum available on each boat.

"While submarine duty is a dynamic and demanding job, the Submarine Force is dedicated to mitigating unnecessary risks to our sailors," Donnelly said.

"Exposure to a harmful substance that is avoidable, such as second hand smoke, is unfair to those who choose not to smoke," he added.

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