Navy bosses have warned its sailors that there will be an outright smoking ban introduced to try and curb the number of sailors who still smoke any products containing nicotine or tobacco.
In a recent memo sent out to all ranks within the naval service, they are now being given advanced warning that during 2021 all Royal Navy ships and its land bases are to implement completely smoke-free work sites.
The memo says that following government guidance there will be a total ‘ban on smoking all tobacco products, including combustible and chewing products.’
Next year the ban will come into force across all UK naval bases and abroad, with a phased introduction, so not to cause a mutiny within its ranks.
All civil servants and military personnel have been told that any ‘smoke-free working environments’ will be at the discretion of Commanding Officers or Heads of Establishments on each individual site initially.
Those who breach any of the rules will likely face disciplinary action, which may include huge fines and repeat offenders could even find themselves locked up in military prison.
This year the British Army enforced a complete smoking ban for all recruits and instructors at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, after Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hall said it is "unacceptable" that the majority of his one thousand recruits who begin their basic training each year are non-smokers, but most are then smoking by the time they have graduated.
Data released by the Ministry of Defence shows that 23 percent of all Royal Navy personnel were smokers in 2011, as of 1 April 2020 that figure was at 15 percent.
Those serving in the British Army were more likely to smoke, with figures from 2011 showing that 32 percent of soldiers smoked tobacco products. As of 1 April 2020, the figure was 23 percent.
All sailors wishing to quit smoking tobacco are being encouraged to approach their Medical Officer (MO) for any support needed to help them kick the addiction. A Royal Navy spokesperson said:
“The Smoking and Tobacco Control Strategy for Defence 2017-2022 was developed to align with the Government’s aim to reduce smoking prevalence and to mitigate the negative effects of smoking on Defence People and the operational capability of the Whole Force.
“In line with the Government Strategy, Defence (including the Royal Navy), has chosen to go smoke-free through a staged implementation of smoke-free sites with the aim of creating a smoke-free work environment by 2022. This will prohibit the use of all tobacco products (including combustible and chewing tobacco products) on all Defence sites.
“The ban is Whole Force, and will include anyone on site (including contractors, visitors, and MOD civil servants) all hours and all days (24/7).”
The spokesperson added that the use of vaping products will only be permitted in ‘designated vaping areas initially’, to support smoking cessation. However, this will then be reviewed with the intention of going completely vape-free by the end of 2022.