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Adults Smoking at Scout Events

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During an adult training session last night, I got to talking with some folks I know about the issue, and one fellow who I have great respect for, told me that the Scouts in his troop have taken the issue as one of their own. At meetings or on camping trips, if they see adults smoking where they shouldn't be, they get a group of Scouts together and together ask the adult to either put the butt out, or move elsewhere. They do this with respect and courtesy. Most of the time, he says, the kids win the day, as the adults aren't up to telling the kids to mind their own business. Plus, he thinks it makes the point much clearer, when the message is delivered by those whom we, as adults, are supposed to be setting the example for. Apparently, the kids decided to do this on their own, no leader set that direction for them. I have to admit that I have admiration for their stout hearts to go that way.


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For those who figure they smoke at home around their boys so it's okay to smoke at troop meetings --- there is a difference. My son nor I have to stay at your house if we don't want to. What happens at your house is to some extent your business. Also, many people are sensitive to smoke and some very allergic to smoke.


We have a few smoking parents in our Pack, at campouts they are very discreet. I forget sometimes that they smoke at all. I visited a troop where the adults stood at the door of the meeting building smoking. My problem not just being this was in plain view of the scouts but also that you had to walk through them and the smoke to get in the building! They just got out of the car, didn't the smoke on the way over? Also, saw this troop in action on a campout. The adults leaders didn't try at all to be discreet. While working with the scouts, I saw the boys have to pick up and move the packs of cigarettes because the female leader didn't have a pocket to put them in. She was 40 feet from the car, couldn't she have left them in there and walked away when she needed to smoke? She was only with the boys for about 1 hour. She would have a cigarette in one hand while using the other to work with the boys on their activity.


I have never smoked but sympathize with those who want to quit. I enjoy diet colas, know they are bad for me, but darn it, it's hard to quit drinking them. I can't imagine trying to quit smoking.



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I cannot tolerate Scout leaders Smoking you are a role model is smoking the example you want to show??

On a recent camp some of our scout leaders smoked openly in front of scouts and then threw the buts on the ground and later during site clean up it was the scouts who had to pick them up and put them in the trash can.

I found this disgusting and told the offending leaders so



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I had to laugh when I read Martha's post. Several years back, we had an adult leader directing the Scouts on policing the area while puffing on a cigarette. As he was finishing the last drag, he noticed a Scout walking right over a piece of paper. He called out to the Scout and while telling the Scout he needed to make sure we left the campsite better than we found it. As the Scout was standing watching and listening to him, he left blew out his last puff of smoke and through the butt on the ground. Those are the things that really blow my mind about people who insist it is ok to smoke in front of the Scouts. They tell the Scouts riding in the car to keep their hands in the car while moving, but they have their hand hanging out with a cigarette while going down the highway. The above example also demostrates my point. Also, I can't tell you how often I've seen an adult tell a Scout how important it is to obey the Scout Oath and Law (to keep myself physically strong, A Scout is Clean) or get on some Scouts for not producing a healthy enough menu for a campout and then walk out the door and light up a minute later. I wish they could see their hypocracy.

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I know better than to mention all the overweight Scouters around. Lets just say those Scouters are hoping that the gay issue and smoking keep everyone busy so they won't have to face up to it. If being overweight is their worst attribute, I think I could live with that.

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Let's portray 'the smoker' (even the title strips away the humanity of the person who occasionally partakes of tobacco products) as an evil, poor image for youth. Let us all overlook any other qualities that the person may have other than the formost politically correct frailty which they may exhibit. In that way we can teach our young to judge people by the most superficial of attributes.


After we get rid of all the smokers, let's start working on the overweight troop leaders (from my viewpoint this is a much more pervasive problem). We don't want our youth to idealize _that_ type of person either. I suggest all of the scout leaders should be light skinned, blond haired and blue eyed, with excellent athletic ability.


Soon we will be rid of all of the evil by forboden it and we will live in a utopian society.... for the next 1000 years.


BSA needs to foster ideals not legislate them. There has always been a distinct difference between leadership and dictatorship. I suggest that BSA has stepped over the line in many areas.


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By the way, the G2SS doesn't ban smoking at Scouting events. The way the reg is worded by using "may not allow" means there are times it is allowed. I am in no way advocating that we as leaders should be smoking in front of Scouts but there are many worse things we could be doing.


Ed Mori

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Yes, the rule does state 'may' and this very item empowers leaders to act indiscriminately and without prior coordination.


Point in fact. I attended a Jamboree this weekend with my sons where it was the intent of one particular leader that He would not allow smoking in his archery range while the Jamboree flyer stated that smoking was 'discouraged'.


This petty tyrant stance led to very uncomfortable 'crack downs' at this leader's stand when he 'dealt with' unsuspecting parents. I was one. This was done in such an unprofessional and tactless way in the obvious attempt to belittle me (I was shown the GTSS and told that he was the 'Encampment Commander' and it was up to Him whether or not He would allow smoking in his area)


I realize that I am 'a smoker' and in some people's eyes I do not deserve being treated in a respectful way. But I'm also a parent of five, a prior scout myself, and also a ten year veteran of the USAF and I'll be damned if some self serving scout 'leader' is going to take away my rights and dignity as an individual.


It left me feeling that some leaders are abusing their ability to interpret and enforce the rules, and that the existing structure encourages them to do so.


I will be contacting the organizers of this event to query the exact guidance on smoking in the State Park during the event. I will also ask about the ability for one person on their own personal crusade to practically ruin the day for myself and my sons by creating a confrontation where the deciding factor was his ability to interpret the rules as he saw fit.


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Adults smoking in front of my son would be sufficient reason for me to leave the troop for a couple of reasons.


One, I do not wish my son to be exposed to secondhand smoke. He has asthma and chronic bronchitis. He doesn't need to be breathing that crap. I do not see this as being the same as having an overweight SM. Our SM being overweight does not pose a health risk for others.


Secondly, the real point, however, is not my opinion or the opinion of others, but what is policy? All adults should follow policy whether they agree with it or not. The Guide of Safe Scouting disallows the use of tobacco at scouting events. Disrespect and disobedience of the rules shown by adults IS a far more serious role-modeling issue than smoking. Doesn't a scout promise to be "obedient"? How can we justify adult flaunting the rules in a scout's face and then expect them to play by the rules?



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Everyone needs to go to their council Website and link to the Youth Protection training video. "the use of tobacco products and alcohol in the presence of scouts is forbidden". (it may say "prohibited" but I believe the word they use is forbidden.

The G2SS Warns leaders that they are responsible for seeing that OTHERS do not smoke in front of the scouts as well. Just as your mother would say "you may not go to mak's house." the G@SS warns registerted adukts that "you may not allow the use of tobacco in front of the scouts".


The Youth Protection Training Instructs all adult leaders that if someone must use tobacco they must do so outsiude of the activity area out of view of the scouts.


For any adult scout leader to use tobacco or to allow others to use tobacco in the view os youth members is totally irresponsible, and if they refuse to end the practice should be reported to the council scout executive for violating youth protection policies.


It is not the family that wishes their son to have a leader set a good example that should have to leave.


Bob White

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1. The guide states that a leader MAY prohibit smoking. It does not say that it IS prohibited.


2. The event was OUTSIDE, no children were subject to second hand smoke.


3. Prior communication stated that smoking was discouraged, not prohibited.


I have been a courteous smoker long before it was politically correct to do so. I do not smoke where my second-hand smoke might offend others. I will not take the abuse given by other do-gooders just because they have the political momentum in their favor and feel that I'm not projecting the correct image.


The statement about overweight leaders was given because it was stated that the image of smoking was the issue. When you remove the second-hand smoke issue and image is the only issue (outside) then I contend that overweight people pose the same risk to our youth as the person who smokes.


You probably don't agree with this if you are overweight.


I really don't feel that either image issue is correct. People should not be taken at image level. Persons should be examined more closely before snap judgements are made on superficial attributes.

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