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Adults Smoking at Scout Events

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The problem is action not image. The boys know you smoke and I'm sure some of them do too. We try to give them a program where healthy living is the order of the day.

I would also ask that over weight / out of shape leaders eat balanced healthy meals on scout events. Just harder to define than smoking since ther is no healthy amount of smoke.

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According to the clip from p. 19 of the Guide to Safe Scouting (assuming the individual providing the clip in the earlier post did so correctly)


"Adult leaders should support the attitude that young adults are better off without tobacco and may not allow the use of tobacco products at any BSA activity involving youth participants."


To me, "may not allow" means that even if a leader didn't have a problem with smoking and didn't care whether or not smoking was present, he does not have the liberty to allow it at a BSA event with scouts present. It would be okay to allow smoking at an adults only event.


I agree that the anti-smoking movement has reached Nazi proportions. I agree that character and integrity are internal issues that cannot be deemed missing in someone's life because they smoke. BUT...disregard of the rules is a character issue. Once policy is understood (doesn't sound like it was made clear at the event you attended), then there should be compliance or it does become an issue of poor role-modeling.



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Just to throw a clinker in the discussion...*BWG* how far does the expectations of being a good role-model go? Do we throw out a scoutmaster who has been unfaithful to his wife? Is a screamer? Uses minor profanity? Has a twinkie addiction? Do we throw out a scoutmaster whose son is on drugs and daughter is pregnant out of wedlock (if he can't manage his own household, how is he fit to lead my kids?)? Makes remarks like "Whoa! Now there's a hot babe!" Makes derogatory remarks about minorities? Buys the occasional pull-tabs? Our SMs are good men. We're not dealing with these issues. But on the smoking issue, I am more concerned about the poor example of non-adherence to policy than the issue of a poor health habit.


I do think that a scoutmaster should be a good role model to a certain degree. I also expect this to some degree of our family's karate instructor. BUT...at the end of the day, it is OUR obligation as parents to instill values in OUR sons. I don't appreciate a scoutmaster who blatantly disregards the rules, but if my son makes poor choices it's not the SM who failed but his father and I. We should be raising a son strong enough to withstand the failure of others to be all they should be. And even after we've done our job to the very best of our ability, our son's poor choices, in the end, will be no one's fault but his own.



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It seems that we come back to the Smoking topic a lot.

Sad to report.

Yes I'm still puffing away.

Yes I could be the $200.00 a month to a better use.

No that darn patch didn't work.

And that relaxation music just got on my wick.

And yes one day..... I will quit.

Next stop is to try a hypnotist.

Much as I hate to admit it. I am a "Hardcore" Smoker.

You will find me outside in the dead of winter smoking.

You will find me paying over the top for a drink that I didn't want in the Airport bar, because that is the only place to smoke.

I don't smoke in your house unless you say it is ok.

In fact if you don't smoke and you are in my house and you don't like it I won't smoke.

I don't smoke in your car and won't smoke in mine if you are a non-smoker. In fact I don't smoke in Her That Must Be Obeyed car.

I don't smoke near or around children and never where Scouts can see me.

Not just because it is the rule.

But I think it is not a good idea.

If I see you smoking in front of Scouts, I will ask you not to.

Because it is the rule.

While I am an adult who is active in Scouting. I am by no means ready for sainthood.

I try very hard not to let young people see me doing things that I regard as "Adult"

I have never let a Scout see me drink an adult beverage or been around a Scout after drinking. Many of the older scouts know that I own a restaurant that sells alcohol.

Just about everyone in the entire council knows of my addiction to cookies and donuts. (No I am not overweight -165 pounds.)

At this time I can't think of any other "Evil Doings" that I am guilty of.

I do agree that I am not the perfect role model for anyone.

But who is?

At this time I like to think that maybe I'm just trying to do my best.


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Regarding adherance to policies and other laws. While the blind adherance to policy and/or laws does make for an orderly society it does not make for a healthy society. It is our duty as good citizens and I suggest good scouts/scout leaders to challenge policy if it is found to be objectionable or unjust.


I hate to trot out the forefathers, but if they had decided to pay the tea (and other taxes) to finance the French-Indian war without objection we would probably still be paying homage to the queen.


While this may not be entirely applicable to the situation at hand, I have filed a complaint with the Mid-America Council on the handling of this matter. Both from a event policy level and a personal handling level of the scout master. Whatever decision they provide me I will accept. Up to this point I have not received a clear definition of the policy. Even on this message board the statement


"Adult leaders should support the attitude that young adults are better off without tobacco and may not allow the use of tobacco products at any BSA activity involving youth participants."


is being interpreted in different ways -may not allow-not allow-maybe not allow. applicable to youth participant, all participants...dependent on the interpretation of the enforcer


I have no problem with complying with a stated rule and yet still protesting that ruling. I will not comply with a rule which was interpreted beyond the original intent of the rule, the recklessness and irresponsibility lies with the person who would do that type of interpretation not with the person who sees through this obvious manipulation of language to obtain their own personal goals.


If I feel strongly enough about the injustice I _will_ fight it with whatever means possible, including non-compliance. As I said before this is not done irresponsibly it is done with determination and with the goal of forcing the issue to a redefinition.


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I echo Eamonn's statements with the following execptions:


I do not own a restaurant.


I do not sell alchoholic beverages.


I do smoke, but not in front of youth and only in designated areas. If youth follow me into a designated area -- which has happened, I put the cigarette out.


Also unlike Eamonn, I smoke in my own home and car. If you don't like it, you are free to leave. I don't smoke in non-smoker's car or home.



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The issue here is not image. The issue that as a private organization the BSA can set it's own standards and rules iregardless of the opinions of the majority or minority of the volunteer members.


The BSA has taken a stance against the use of Drugs, alcohol and tobacco in scouting. When you watch the new Youth Protection video you will see and hear that the BSA prohibits the use of tobacco at scouting events in the view of youth members. The BSA in an effort to recognize the difficulty many have with going an entiure weekend without smoking have agreed to allow tobacco use outside of the activity area, outside of the view of scouts. Adult leaders are responsible for seeing that all adults, including non-members comply with this regulation. The BSA gas the authority to permanently revoke the membership of registered members who violate this policy or who allow others to violate it.


There is no personal interpretation in this, I gain nothing personal whether you smoke of not. I have lost 7 close scouting friends to lung cancer. None of them smoked in front of the scouts, but they are all dead just the same. I would hate to think that some young man l;ost his life prematurely because a scout leader was so self centered as to allow scouting to set such a deadly habit for the boy.


As with ant scouting policy the choice is your to follow or not. But when a scout greaks a rule he doesn't agree with just remember it was you that taught him that behavior.


Bob White



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Then there is a contradiction in the video & the G2SS. If the video states smoking is prohibited & the G2SS doesn't which is correct? And please, not your interpretation.


When did this new Youth Protection Video come out?


Ed Mori

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Right, if this is the stated position of the BSA then they need to do a lot more to get the word out.


My 12/yo son has been scouting for the past 5 years and this is the first that I have heard of it. Along with that the training needs to teach tact in addressing it with parents, not treat it as a crusade where smokers are all evil heathen and the troop leaders are all older, wiser diciplinarians, Bob.


I for one, disagree with the intolerant stance that BSA has taken on this and other issues. But I'm sure those that walk so righteous a path are easily able to justify their actions no matter how short sighted.


If there are to be smoking areas at scouting events then they should be posted. If all other areas are to be non-smoking then the rule should be stated. Do not state one and then do the other.


See this excerpt from the general information about the event...


(http://ads.omaha.com/sites/boyscouts/jubilee_general.zip, page six). it stated that:


"We encourage leaders to take one additional step in setting a good example for the youth of our council. Please give serious consideration on taking a weekend break from the use of all tobacco products. Young minds are impressionable and the Scouting youth frequently look to their leaders as role models."





IV. Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Use and Abuse:

Adult leaders should support the attitude that young adults are better off without tobacco and may not allow the use of tobacco products at any BSA activity involving youth participants.


Maybe it all appears black and white to you Bob, but then I'm just an ill educated parent without the benefit of the training you mentioned who has not seen anyone die from personal choices they've made in their life, be it the choice to serve their county, high-fat foods, high speed driving, or sometimes just the choice to walk down the street at a certain time of day. It appears to me that it is the ability to make those choices which is more important to note than the outcome of those choices. Perhaps they weren't the choice that I would have had them make, but it was their choice.



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You are probably not an ill-educated person, you are simply following an selective interpretation that allows you to put your own personal preferences before the good of the scouts or the desire of the scouting program.


Bob White

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Eamonn, I don't smoke, never have, but I think your approach is an honourable one.

That said, I am quick to mention during the first leader's meeting at camp, that if we don't allow the boys to use tobacco, it's only fair that adults adhere for one short week to the same restriction. They then ignore me.


GeBlack, there's 2nd hand smoke and then there's 2nd hand smoke. I can sometimes tell when the car ahead of me has a smoker. That sensitive, yes. Does it harm me...probably not. But around areas where boys are engaged in scouting activities, even outside, I would ask you, as politely as possible, to cease smoking.

BTW, one of my commanding officers absolutely prohibits use of tobacco products (any kind) within 50 feet of any common area (doorways, etc.) I have posted the policy throughout our facility and I see it at other facilities. I'll have to check but my understanding is that something like it is current policy throughout the service. As I remember, he has some stars on his uniform.:) Not sure about the USAF, though. I would think it would be similar.

One example (without the stars):


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When our Pack was active and participated in the annual School Night For Scouting programs, I was always concerned about how to approach the new parents that smoked. Our Troop and Pack have a dedicated building for our programs, and incredibly sensitive smoke detectors. I am the SM, but also oversee the building's usage and upkeep for the church, so I tend to be at several of the Pack meetings with the new Cubs and their parents, to introduce myself and explain the building rules set by the church. I've never had to put up No Smoking signs, and I've never had to ask anyone to step outside. In fact, in my many years of Scouting, the smokers have usually asked me where an appropriate location would be.

Maybe it was my carrying around that chemical fire extinguisher, hmmmmmmmmmmm.



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