Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Submarine Smoking Ban Announced

It looks like the potential ban on smoking aboard submarines we discussed last week is the real deal. According to this article at, COMSUBFOR sent out a message announcing that smoking would be banned as of the end of the year. Excerpts:
The smoking ban, announced via naval message, will become effective no later than Dec. 31, 2010.
The impetus behind the change of policy is the health risks to non-smokers, specifically exposure to secondhand smoke.
"Our Sailors are our most important asset to accomplishing our missions. Recent testing has proven that, despite our atmosphere purification technology, there are unacceptable levels of secondhand smoke in the atmosphere of a submerged submarine. The only way to eliminate risk to our non-smoking Sailors is to stop smoking aboard our submarines," said Vice Adm. John J. Donnelly, COMSUBFOR...
... Subsequent to the 2006 Surgeon General report, the Submarine Force chartered the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory to conduct a study on U.S. submarines. The study indicated that non-smoking Sailors were exposed to measurable levels of Environment Tobacco Smoke (ETS), also called secondhand smoke. The year-long study was conducted in 2009 on nine different submarines, including at least one from each class of submarines in the force.
In conjunction with the policy change, cessation assistance to Sailors is being offered. The program will incorporate education techniques and nicotine replacement therapy, such as nicotine patches and nicotine gum, to assist in kicking the smoking habit. In keeping with current submarine policy, drugs such as Zyban and Chantix are not authorized.
"To help smokers minimize the effects of quitting, nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches and gum, will be readily available along with an extensive cessation training and support program on every boat. What we want to discourage is smokers turning to alternative methods of tobacco use such a chewing tobacco," said Capt. Mark Michaud, Submarine Force Atlantic surgeon.
Zyban and Chantix both apparently have some bad side effects like depression and suicidal ideation, so I can see why they wouldn't want submariners taking them, but I wonder if they did the studies with people taking the drug without quitting smoking at the same time. I imagine nicotine withdrawal could cause depression by itself.

So what do you think? Will this new ban make the U.S. Submarine Force a more effective war-fighting organization?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always had fun watching smokers try and light up when the O2 was low. Not to mention how valuable that carton I took on long deployments would become. Amazing how people became your best friend after 2 months underwater.


4/08/2010 12:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a timing coincidence, right?

To disguise any perceived inconvenience of storing bulky, female-only health supplies on submarines, nicotine replacement aids such as patches and gum, will be stored in the same, dedicated locations on every boat.

Nicotine repacement aids and related training materials will occupy less than 1/50th of that dedicated space, however. Can anyone guess what was formerly stored in these valuable spaces?

HINT: Something nonessential, but probably appreciated by a few more crew.

Conan the cowboy

4/08/2010 1:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw this coming, I switched to electronic cigs. Not sure if they are going to ban them too, but there is no smoke and it's way cheaper. Will see how it does later this year!

4/08/2010 1:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It will have a fatal impact on the Cigs for Sigs program...

4/08/2010 1:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smoking cigs will be out by the end of the year, but pole smoking will be celebrated as diversity is enhanced in the sub force.

4/08/2010 1:53 PM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Glad I got out. Nothing worse than being the U/W ELT with nothing to do and no cigarettes to smoke.

Speaking of which there Eng (a.K.a. Joel), did you ever have anyone paint underway? That argument was never settled.

4/08/2010 2:35 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Yes, I ended up doing "spot" painting underway like everyone else did -- less than a pint at a time.

4/08/2010 2:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually got used to second hand smoke while underway. I wonder if snuff will still be allowed. Alot of the "dippers" would spit almost anywhere or leave a spit can laying around. That was more disgusting that cigaretes.

4/08/2010 2:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's nice that they at least did due diligence by actually measuring whether the burners and scrubbers could effectively clean the air, but at the same time it would be nice if they *actually* banned atmosphere contaminants all the way around, not just when inspection teams were aboard. Fair's fair.

4/08/2010 2:55 PM

Blogger montigrande said...

I was wondering if the fleet was still slopping poly-amide gray around ASW bay underway. It always amazed me that we are so sensitive to smokers and blind to the paint fumes. This makes me glad that I retired, I would have hated to have to enforce this on my division/watchteam/department. BTW, I smoked and dipped, drank coffee and redbull, sometimes at the same time.

4/08/2010 2:56 PM

Blogger Michael J. McFadden said...

Note the language in this article: where it reveals that the justification is not necessarily anything at all to do with health but may simply rest upon the EXISTENCE of smoke when people are smoking. They use the nonsensical "no safe level" argument - one which is just as valid for such things as sunshine and secondhand alcohol fumes.

To see the kind of lies that these bans are based on read the "New Stiletto at and you'll see both how and WHY the Antismokers push these things. If you have any substantive criticisms of anything in it please share them here. I clearly identify who I am and what my potential "competing interest" is, and I *always* stand behind what I write.

Michael J. McFadden,
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

4/08/2010 4:01 PM

Blogger SJV said...

It's been far too long.

4/08/2010 4:22 PM

Blogger Lyle said...

I don't like it one bit. I'm not a regular smoker, but I DO enjoy a stogie from time to time underway while I'm reading a book. I think that in comparison to the other atmosphere contaminants (such as paint, oil, diesel, amine, stripper, wax, etc...), second-hand smoke is insignificant.


4/08/2010 4:33 PM

Blogger Do You Think I G.A.F. said...

It will be interesting. Glad I am not part of the community anymore. I wonder how this will go over with the crew members? What if someone has serious withdrawls and can't get underway? Once again, we are fighting two wars (if you call them that) and the only thing the Navy is worried about is a ugly uniform, no more copping a fag, you can have a fag in your berthing, but you can't tap any females. No wonder why the sub force is losing funds and identity! Its a shame!


4/08/2010 4:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No smoking on the USS North Carolina and USS Virginia?!?! YGTBFKM...

Recommend writing/e-mailing congressmen and senators.

And POTUS smokes... In the White House. I'm just saying....

4/08/2010 5:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I wonder how this will go over with the crew members? What if someone has serious withdrawls and can't get underway?"


What we're doing is giving the guys who want to, a chance to quit. Not cold turkey all the way, but to ween them off smoking gradually. The guys my age (late 20s) and up, will have the hardest time. But the gum and patches will help to reduce the urge to light up. This method of madness isn't foolproof but it is effective. The smokers will find something else to latch on to in time...such as eating more, drinking more pop and yes changing over to Skoal.

I personally have no problem with others smoking around me. It's the Gawd damned dipping I can't stand. That shit is unbelievably nasty. What decent woman is going to let you kiss her or go down on her if you have a shit bit chew in your lower lip?

Smokers, I'll do everything I can to help, not a problemo. Dippers can go fuck off. I have absolutely no sympathy for that nasty shit.

Going to tobacco free?...Does it make us a better fighting force?

I don't feel that it does. We'll be healthier for sure. But firing a shot against smokers isn't going to solve our problems at present. I'm not a smoker but I gotta ask...Has anyone actually died from 2nd hand smoke?

You know what?...this concept just came to mind as I close. I stopped by for gas here in Silverdale an hour ago at the end of my day, I noticed most packs of smokes cost damn near $8.00 a shot. I don't remember how much they cost around KB but $8.00 is a touch too much don'tcha' think? That's yet another reason to gradually stop smoking Gents.

MT1(SS) WidgetHead

4/08/2010 5:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When will the MDR being issuing patches for the pole smokers that are coming completely out of the closets and bunks when DADT is cancelled?

Memory seems to recall that the POTUS smokes? Guess that his teleprompter has not briefed him yet on "leadership by example" and that "leaders set the standards" coming from the top down and not the reverse direction?

Assclown Jr.

4/08/2010 5:37 PM

Blogger Mark said...

Sorry guys but this ban is bull shit. I don't smoke and never will, but the stress on a boat is beyond real, and I did five boats and can say that with no reservation. If a guy (and now a gal) wants to relieve some stress with a smoke, go for it. I've inhaled more graphite and shit than most coal miners while cleaning MG's. Second hand smoke was the least of the shit I had to deal with.

Teacher in Up State NY
EMCS/SS Retired

and as a side note, Mike McFadden, are you a ex-submariner? If not STFU, if you are, were you an Electrician?

4/08/2010 6:19 PM

Anonymous submarines once... said...

Clearly driven by the move to bring women into submarines. Submarine Force anniversay 110 is this Sunday and we just now figure out that second hand smoke is an issue. That's what happens when you are governed by the PC climate and you don't have a seat at the table for the ground wars!! Good luck and thank God I'm too old to play anymore.

4/08/2010 6:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When will the MDR being issuing patches for the pole smokers that are coming completely out of the closets and bunks when DADT is cancelled?"

You think we're not already there? Really? You're as deluded as your screen name implies.

Fags aren't addicted to cock. Our smoking pole does absolutely nothing to harm you. If we do it underway, then take us to mast. Aside from that, leave us the fuck alone.

Jeez. We're 110. Grow up already. When did bubbleheads become such a bunch of whiny bitches? Afraid of women and homos, but can't handle the stress of after watch clean-up without a Cig. Pathetic.

4/08/2010 7:52 PM

Blogger Do You Think I G.A.F. said...

I couldn't agree with you more there MT1(SS) WidgetHead. Dippers are nasty. They think they can put their spit anywhere.

Subforce is doomed! No mission, no money. Cigs are about $4.75 a pack here in Utah.

Are they going to get rid of the cigarettes in the exchange?? To much money for the NEX to lose there. Gonna be about the dollar there! Intersting to see someday.

But I am no longer playing in the sewer tube!


4/08/2010 7:57 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

I may be in the minority but I think the ban is a good thing overall and long past due, although the growing pains are going to be awful for the first year or two.

Frankly, I doubt we'll have the intestinal fortitude to stay the course. I remember when the catch-phrase was, "Smoke Free by '93!" Never happened.

Completely agree that we should also ban painting underway as well and it ticks me off that we as a force are selective in which regulations we choose to follow and which ones we purposefully ignore/cheat for convenience sake. Sending that kind of mixed message to our Sailors says that the CO condones the same kind of behavior (blow off rules that we don't like w/ some kind of sea lawyer excuse) in them when that is certainly not the case. Painting underway shouldn't be happening.

Had an XO who was big on spit&polish and he used to shine his boots for a half hour every day (underway) w/ his stateroom door open. That ticked me off too.

What I'm more concerned about is how many unplanned personnel losses we're going to see on our boats.

Sailor Schmuckatelli doesn't want to make deployment...starts complaining to Doc around halfway through the POM cycle & uses the patch & gum for awhile but says they don't work. Doc goes to training for a day or takes leave and while he's out Schmuckatelli hits up Tripler or wherever and sees a non-UMO Doctor who gives him a prescription for Zyban and boom - he's NPQ subs and gets a free ride at NSSC for a year until BUMED gets all the paperwork straightened out for a waiver. Or worse yet he doesn't go for a waiver and we lose someone fully qualified to the surface fleet or the civilian sector. Crappy economy or not, some of our best and brightest who happen to smoke will use this as a loophole to get out of their contracts. We don't have the manpower inventory (force-shaping down or not we're in trouble across the board for manning) to support those kinds of unplanned losses.

I foresee claiming an uncontrollable addiction (w/o drugs) to nicotine to become a leading reason for guys tapping out (where "I want to hurt myself" is the preferred consequence-free current method).

Because it is a medical condition (nicotine addiction), our hands as leaders will be tied and our guys' fate will be completely up to the medical officers for disposition.

And that just sucks...

4/08/2010 8:02 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Michael McFadden -- As the writer of this blog, I welcome comments from everyone, including non-submariners. Thanks for stopping by and providing input.

4/08/2010 9:42 PM

Anonymous General Animosity said...

The unplanned personell losses will continue to mount as female sailors become pregnant on submarines, just as in the skimmer fleet. Under current guidance, a female sailor cannot be replaced if she is out on baby leave. I can see this hamstringing several commands that are already strapped for people. As to the smoking cigs, I myself do not smoke. At the same time, I think those who smoke should be able to. As has been previuosly mentioned, many, many subs paint underway while recirculating, contrary to the ACM. What is worse, cigarette smoke or large quantities of wax stripper and paint fumes because ORSE is a week away? Mmm, paint fumes! How safe are those for everyone? Do the scrubbers clean THAT up? This shows how hypocritical our leadership is. "You can't smake under water because it isn't healthy for everyone else, but oh, we gotta get that great score on ORSE, so start painting and quit bitching about the fumes!" Gimme a F-ing break!
Someone else mentioned dip. If they are gonna ban smokes they should go ahead and ban ALL tobacco products, as many of us don't wanna clean up after those who spit and leave messes everywhere. Nasty f#ckers already leave spit and dip messes around the boats and in the bilges, but now there will be even more of it to clean up. And yes, what a previous poster said is also likley true: Those with the yens for carcinogens will likley find it an attractive excuse to tap out and further ruin it for everyone else because we are already horribly undermanned. Gotta love this downhill slide!

4/08/2010 9:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeez. We're 110. Grow up already. When did bubbleheads become such a bunch of whiny bitches? Afraid of women and homos, but can't handle the stress of after watch clean-up without a Cig. Pathetic.

Typical faggot rhetoric. No one is afraid of you, we just don't approve of your behavior and your propensity to shove it (no pun intended) in everyone's face. Ergo, we can't fucking stand you. No amount of PC BS from a bunch of ass sucking perfumed princes will change it. Tolerate you underway? Maybe. Put up with you off the boat? Not a fucking chance. Smoke 'em if you've got 'em.

4/08/2010 9:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Smoke 'em if you've got 'em."


4/08/2010 10:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why the heck would Zyban (Bupropion) make you NPQ for subs? Considering how widely it is prescribed and the very very few side effects, that's got to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Not that I'm doubting you, but BUMED has its head up its backside, as usual - banning a drug that can help people quit smoking.

4/08/2010 10:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since the ORSE board members are supposedly the best and the brightest, they ought to be bright enough to recognize that the nice frosty white paint on lagging is a dead giveaway that the command is having the crew paint underway, if the boat has been at sea for more than a week or two. If big Navy gives a shit about the health of the crews, they can start cracking down on the skippers in these situations. Think it'll ever happen? I fuckin' doubt it.

4/08/2010 11:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, a PINT a day! Whoot!
Got a gallon can from SKC and was
told "a pint a day". Next day he
came back for the can and it was
empty. I'd damn near painted the
entire stbd outboard in AMR2 3rd
level in 2 watches. Boy was HE
PISSED! So I asked him for another
pint sized can......
Anybody wonder why the aft
escape trunk reeks of poly-amide?
DUH. And they wonder why they have
to stone the mg's and tg's all
of the time.
But boy them smokers are
I hope they vote with their
boots like Mullet suggested.

4/08/2010 11:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love it! I posted the info about this to Facebook and a retired 1st class friend of mine had this to say: "I'm lucky I just retired or I'd be getting caught smoking in the Machinery Room again!".

This policy isn't going to work. How are they going to punish people when they get caught smoking? Is it going to be treated like someone getting caught for pot? Or restriction? For smoking a legal substance?

I don't think this policy is going to be enforced at all by CO's at sea. They've got discretion as far as facial hair underway. They can sure as hell do the same with this.

4/09/2010 1:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Baffle em with bullshit...these recent actions are so pointless that they have to be cover for something important coming down the pipe.

My guess - 2010 QDR recommends reducing sub force structure by 20-30%. Make life miserable for the fleet so they donf't fight as hard against Change.

Thank God I'm out. It has been five years and I still smile a little when I think about crossing the brow for the last time!

4/09/2010 5:09 AM

Anonymous XEM2 said...

So were the scrubbers able to get the "Environment Tobacco Smoke" down to safe levels? Who knows, because no one can say what a safe level is. But from what I've heard from public health professionals there's really NO evidence to suggest that second-hand smoke increases lung cancer risk at all.

Regardless, I think removing another privelege from submariners that every other service enjoys is just crap. If the entire DOD was required to go smoke-free to increase health and readiness, fine. But singling out subs because of their enclosed atmosphere, while ignoring the demonstrably dangerous VOCs mentioned by other posters, is just bad science AND bad policy.

4/09/2010 5:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Smoking used to be banned on the old S and V-boats in the 1930s...they used to have to go out to the gun platform aft of the conning tower to smoke.

You're all just going back to your roots...

4/09/2010 6:52 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Amazing how other atmospheric contaminants are allowed like paint, diesel fuel, PLO, amine, etc., but the powers that be get their panties in a wad over secondhand smoke. Seems to me I don't remember draining a whole lot of ashes out of the spot coolers, but then again, as soon as someone tried painting underway, it made life living hell for the electricians, having to restone the MG's (and in one case, a TG.) Even as an ex-smoker, this strikes me as a REAL bad idea.

4/09/2010 8:02 AM

Anonymous PigBoatSailor said...

I was never much of a smoker, until we started doing our ORSE/pre-Deployment workups. After that, it was a welcome, if brief, bit of stress relief. One of the few available underway.

Heck, we used to hold our Pre-Watch briefs on the smoke pad, even the OODs who didn't smoke new it was just easier to muster everyone there.

At one point, the XO decided that officers couldn't smoke - it set a bad example. Yeah, that didn't work all that well - ERF, ERS, or the RT would always buzz the smoke pad to let the officers know to scoot when he headed back aft.

Telling that they thought it was worth the cat and mouse with the XO for the relief of a smoke, eh? Does anyone think this won't happen on a larger scale once this ban goes into effect? Then again, morale is rarely a fleet concern.

4/09/2010 8:06 AM

Blogger John said...

Zyban is identical to Wellbutrin, a psychoactive drug which disqualifies you from subs and other clearance billets. Fortunately, the only way they'll let you take the meds is if you can go to their regularly-scheduled weekly support groups, so anyone who stands duty won't have to worry about DQ.

4/09/2010 9:38 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Informatiion from previous studies...

Each cigarette smoked cuts 7 minutes off the individual's life expectancy. (Do the math.)

Smokers' quality of life as they approach the end of life is much worse than non-smokers, on average. It gets ugly at the end.

Smokers who quit get about halfway to the life expectancy of persons who never smoked after one year. They are essentially indistinguishable from never-smoked after 15 years.

This has not been an active-duty issue, because those smokers who die from smoking-related illness usually do so after retiring. But it's a huge health issue for the VA, for Medicare, and for insurance costs. What the submarine force is doing here is a quiet version of health-care reform that will have gigantic benefits for us submariners and a positive impact on reducing health-care costs.

It's hard to quit smoking. I know. But I can say from experience that after quitting for good, that nagging need for a smoke does tend to fade a bit after ten or twenty years. Hang in there, Sloopy.

4/09/2010 10:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man.....time to get some ecigs!! I got mine at

4/09/2010 10:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has not been an active-duty issue, because those smokers who die from smoking-related illness usually do so after retiring. But it's a huge health issue for the VA, for Medicare, and for insurance costs. What the submarine force is doing here is a quiet version of health-care reform that will have gigantic benefits for us submariners and a positive impact on reducing health-care costs.

Well then, using that logic, subs will soon be eliminating pizza night, sliders, and all high caloric and sodium laced items. Additionally, all personnel will be guaranteed a minimum of eight hours uninterrupted sleep per 24 hour period - including duty days, underway fitness accommodations will be given a priority, and (as previously mentioned) all toxic gas/particulate emitting substances (paint, chemical stripper, etc.) will be prohibited from being aboard any boat.

4/09/2010 11:36 AM

Blogger Mark said...

"Michael McFadden -- As the writer of this blog, I welcome comments from everyone, including non-submariners. Thanks for stopping by and providing input."

Thanks Joel, that needed to be said, I snapped at him inappropriately, About like snapping at the TH for bringing up religion or politics on the midwatch, thought he was pushing his wares and it annoyed me.

For those non-submariners out there I do enjoy your posts, and it gives a good contrast to our way of thinking sometimes.

Math Teacher in Up State NY

4/09/2010 11:39 AM

Anonymous pc assclown said...

I smoked for 35 years. I then began to feel like crap, and as the Prophylactic Waterfowl (prick that he is) factually stated, "Smokers' quality of life as they approach the end of life is much worse than non-smokers, on average. It gets ugly at the end." I began to fear a lousy end and a bad outcome. So with the help of the patch, I quit.

It's been a bit more than three years since my last cig, and I'll never smoke again (flat statement that I'll back up with my life).

The annual financial impact of stopping smoking 1.5 packs/day, including $4.75/pack, lighters, gas to and from the store, and impulse buys while there adds to about $3,500/year X 3 years = $10,500. That's a hundred and five nights with a $100/night whore. Lord was I wasting my money on cigerettes.

So for you boys and girls still riding the boats, just think how much more puss you'll be able to afford on those rare occasions where you actually do get liberty.

4/09/2010 11:57 AM

Blogger Old Salt said...

So in the same year, we allow women and openly gay people, ban smoking, and institute breathalyzer testing at EVERY duty section turnover. Then we have meetings and wring our hands in suprise at the lack of retention. I just learned that instead of fixing retention, we are lowering BMP to reflect where we are. Great, if you can't get the required people, just lower the requirement. Submarines are HARD duty. There used to be some compensation for that. Now we are turning into a social experiment, and people ARE voting with their feet. We are apparently just to dumb to get it.
To be clear, I'm not against most of these policies, but generally when making changes, a little at a time is better than a massive reorg.

4/09/2010 12:25 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

"...generally when making changes, a little at a time is better than a massive reorg."

The Kindly Old Gentleman vehemently disagreed with the go-slow approach. "If you're gonna make a change, do it!" or something along those lines.

4/09/2010 12:40 PM

Anonymous Mark/MM1(SS) said...

I actually wonder if the idea IS to drive down retention in the sub force. Maybe I'm giving them too much credit for cleverness, but perhaps their calculation is that by culling out smokers, through both non-retention and dissuading smokers from choosing subs, they'll have a better-behaved sub force in place when the women start arriving in meaningful numbers. I would expect there is some statistical (not causal, though) correlation between smoking and some behaviors that big Navy finds undesirable, and in a Machiavellian way, they plan to use it for social engineering.

4/09/2010 2:13 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

General Animosity

"...large quantities of wax stripper and paint fumes... How safe are those for everyone?"

If obtained through the submarine supply chain and allowed to be stored onboard, those materials have been approved for uses consistent with their Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs).

As you may recall from all-hands training, this is called the Federal "Right to Know" law, and only during combat situations is the military exempt from the 1985 Hazard Communication Standard. You should have reasonable access to MSDSs applicable to your potential, exposures.

The U.S. approach to workplace health and safety has generally been superior to that of any other country in the world, although isolated pockets of noncompliance will always exist due to the individual negligence or ignorance.

Because Rickover's submarine force had been a world leader in health and safety before OSHA regulations, submariners have long benefitted from relatedbbest practices.

Non-smoker, myself.

4/09/2010 3:10 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Once again, the only problem with equating subs to every other work place is that they are not equal.
Can't smoke inside the ship, just go topside. Can't smoke in the building, just go outside. But since when have we asked SWOs, or office dwelling flags, or POTUS, to quit smoking for 60 days. Hmmmm.

Mind you, the evidence of second hand smoke damage is weak. Don't believe me? When was the last time you let someone make the 'concert defense' for marijuana actually work for them?

Every smoker should file an IG complaint for contaminants in the air--and force an end to painting underway and the use of MEA. I cannot wait to see those start coming in.

Oh, as a sometime smoker, the gum works just fine to take the edge off. Its a good option when you cannot leave your SR on mission.

4/09/2010 4:08 PM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

Is there an alternative to MEA and the current scrubber technology?

4/09/2010 5:09 PM

Blogger Oz said...

I might buy the health argument if open disregard of the contaminant rules were not SOP. We did massive painting underway for ORSE and I'm pretty sure everyone else does too.

My first introduction to the atmosphere on a boat was walking around the engine room and noticing oil streaming from the vents of the MCPs. I pointed out that the pumps were leaking oil and was told that it was in fact oil condensing on the pump casing from the surrounding air. Frankly I was always more worried about the 90+ days of continuous atomized LO than secondhand smoke that went directly into the burner.

4/09/2010 6:21 PM

Blogger Michael J. McFadden said...

Bubblehead, thank you for the welcome! :) Mark, no offense taken. If you look around the web a bit you'll find that aside from identifying myself in my signature I never "push my wares" - the main reference I send folks to is the Stiletto and that's a free booklet that I urge people to print on their own rather than try to sell it. And if you look some more you'll find that virtually every posting I've made on the smoking topic over the past 15 years has been both on-topic and offering useful information and arguments... long before Brains was even written.

What's annoying about the sub ban is that it's being pushed on the submariners by people from the outside who couldn't give half a damn what it might do to the people it will affect. The big-shot Antismokers also pushed to exclude cigars and cigarettes from being sent by family members to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan because it would be bad for their health. And when the service members come home they find that their private vets clubs have been forced to ban smoking or close as well.


4/10/2010 12:29 AM

Blogger Michael J. McFadden said...

btw... I'm probably hauling coal to Newcastle here, but with all the comments on paint fumes I have to ask: have you all read "The Gold Crew" by Thomas Scortia from the early 1980s? I read it a long time ago and enjoyed it. Dunno how folks who were actually submariners might feel about it, but the sense I got while reading it was that the author was pretty familiar with his subject matter.


4/10/2010 7:22 PM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

I vaguely recall reading it underway, but can recall nothing about the plot, but that it was reasonably entertaining, but didn't seem like the author had any first-hand knowledge of submarining. For some reason, probably because I was one, my strongest recollection is some pretty silly stuff about ELTs.

4/10/2010 8:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe how far the sub force has fallen. Back in the day when I was making Westpac's on diesel boats, second hand smoke from smoking cigarettes (and cigars) was the least of your breathing worries. Try snorkeling downwind for a couple of watches to try to make up PIM. It got so bad sometimes we would up watching conical 3D cinemascope movies in the crews mess. You could see the shapes all the way from the lens to the screen.
When I moved on to FBMs, things were much nicer, but smoking is so far down on the list of potential health hazards of being underway, submerged for extended periods of time it is obvious that it is merely reflective of our overall societal obsessions.

Dean Kling

4/11/2010 5:24 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Dean Kling:

Which diesels? We may have been shipmates...

4/11/2010 6:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On all my boats (all 688's) we used to store enough paint onboard to last us for all of Westpac. We used to open up the coffers outboard in condensate bay and load them up with paint. Prior to ORSE we'de open up the bays and everyone would paint/spruce on the midwatch. You could REALLY smell it all through the boat and the DOC had a complete fit!!!

4/12/2010 1:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubber ducky,
I was a rather odd duck as well. I was a CTM (Communications Technician, Maintenance branch) stationed at CINCPACFLT in Pearl Harbor. While there I made westpac's on the USS Bonefish (SS-582) from Feb-Aug 1971 and on the USS Wahoo (SS-565) from Nov 71 to May 72. After going to college (through NESEP) and getting commissioned I did an initial tour on the USS Tang (SS-563) from 1977-79 before moving on to FBM's as a Strategic Weapons Officer. Any matchups ?

Dean Kling

4/12/2010 11:59 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Dean Kling:

Matchup indeed. TANG XO here. Email me @ and let's get in touch backchannel.

4/13/2010 5:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I served with a CO in the early 90's that was pushing to ban smoking onboard the boat I was on. Seems like he got what he wanted. And he is in a position to get it. He is currently the Deputy CNO.

4/13/2010 6:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous @ 6:31 PM said...
I served with a CO in the early 90's that was pushing to ban smoking onboard the boat I was on. Seems like he got what he wanted. And he is in a position to get it. He is currently the Deputy CNO."

I feel sorry for you during the tour. (Can't believe he won Stockdale...made that award diminish big time.) I served with him when he was SEVENTH Fleet COS. Biggest backstabber I ever met! Screwed the other O-6s on a daily basis and really put it to the LCDRs/CDRs. But...he made flag and moved on with less than a year on board...we threw a farewell party...AFTER!

4/14/2010 5:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, so... does anybody else think it's incredibly screwed up that somebody who appears to be reviled has made flag?

4/14/2010 11:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had an XO many years ago that was an idiot and a bigot. He called our black yeoman the N word amongst other slurs. He retired as an O6. Go figure.

As to the flag in question: It is not what you know but who you know and who you blow.

4/15/2010 9:49 AM

Blogger Michael J. McFadden said...

Some of you might be interested in commenting on the ban at:



4/16/2010 7:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imagine the suggestion that you can master the sub and earn your dolphins by slapping on a patch, chewing gum or sucking a lozenge. We'd laugh right? Then how does a bubblehead master their chemical dependency by doing so? What learning takes place? None! Two free quitting e-books are the piping tabs to qualifying ex-smoker, one written by a former bubblehead: "Never Take Another Puff" by Joel Spitzer and "Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home" by John R. Polito, former MT1 (SS). Read both and discover why knowledge is a quitting method.

5/05/2010 5:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imagine the suggestion that you can master the sub and earn your dolphins by slapping on a patch, chewing gum or sucking a lozenge. We'd laugh right? Then how does a bubblehead master their chemical dependency by doing so? What learning takes place? None! Two free quitting e-books are the piping tabs to qualifying ex-smoker, one written by a former bubblehead: "Never Take Another Puff" by Joel Spitzer and "Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home" by John R. Polito, former MT1 (SS). Read both and discover why knowledge is a quitting method.

5/05/2010 5:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So does that mean they are coming out with a new substitute for amine as well? How bout a new design for ventihilation...something that doesn't pump diesel exhaust back to the er...the only time I get to take a break is when I go to smoke...I'm pretty sure people are going to be out for blood on this one...
Disgruntal e-div'r

5/15/2010 9:33 PM

Blogger john said...

FDA approved chantix (latest smoking cessation pill) leads you to Smoking free healthy life. The Best possible way to quit smoking for clean and healthy world.

6/01/2010 3:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The EPA standard is to be used for OUTSIDE ambient air quality and it is the average over a period of 3 years.

The proper standard to compare to is the OSHA standard for indoor air quality for respirable particulate (not otherwise specified) for nuisance dusts and smoke. That standard is 5000 ug/m3 on a time-weighted average (8 hours a day, 5 days a week) and is intended to be protective of health over an average working life of 30 years!

This is where second hand smoke really becomes a joke,remember its nearly 90% water vapor and lets get to the facts of toxicology and dose makes the poison:

According to independent Public and Health Policy Research group, Littlewood & Fennel of Austin, Tx, on the subject of secondhand smoke........

They did the figures for what it takes to meet all of OSHA'S minimum PEL'S on shs/ets.......Did it ever set the debate on fire.

They concluded that:

All this is in a small sealed room 9x20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes

"For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes

"Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

"For Hydroquinone, "only" 1250 cigarettes

For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time

The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

So,OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)...It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded." -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec'y, OSHA

11/05/2010 11:18 AM

Anonymous buy electronic cigarette said...

Smoking is a hard habit to break. If you've done everything to cut it off but there aren't any changes, well I guess you need try coaching and counseling.

2/07/2011 10:55 PM

Blogger John Clark said...

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2/21/2013 9:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hated it when you skeezy crusty "shipmates" would blow your lung funk on me. I don't smoke nor does anyone smoke around me in the private world. Maybe it will add to my service connection for chronic bronchitis. You can go waa waa waa but I don't piss on you don't blow your lung funk on me.

5/10/2013 8:48 AM


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