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Smoking During Campouts

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From an English sample Court of Honor (PLC) transcript for training Patrol Leaders:


Troop Leader (TL=SPL): Any other business? O.K. then. Skipper, you said you wanted to have the last word; what's it about this time?


SM: Smoking, for a change. I expect I'm old-fashioned but I still think Patrol Leaders in uniform puffing cigarettes in camp sets a bad example to the rest of the Troop. I would like to ask that you put a ban on it and, if it would help, the ASM and I are willing to give up smoking during the Troop weekend camp.


PL Cuckoos: Well that will save you a lot of money, Skipper.


SM: How many of you smoke regularly?


Rather hesitatingly the TL and the PL Pigeons put up their hands.


SM: Mind you, I don't think this is the sort of thing we can make rules about, but I am concerned about the example we set to the younger fellows in the Troop. I think we ought to try to avoid smoking in their presence.


TL: O.K., I'm willing to play ball with this one. Skipper is right and we do seem to have got a bit slack about it. I suggest that at the weekend camp we really do make an effort to pull ourselves together, about this and one or two other things, Any other business? No? Then I declare the meeting closed. Next meeting a month from tonight.


http://inquiry.net/patrol/court_honor/coh_session.htm(This message has been edited by kudu)

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packsaddle wrote: "Any adult ought to be able to go without tobacco for the duration of a scouting event. BSA should have a total prohibition of it"


I actually have a medical condition and if I were to quit smoking would really hinder making progress with that... and therefore I have been told by my doctors that until I am able to get my medications to a lower dose and managed well at that dose I'm not to quit smoking.


while I'm sure most of you are saying "what, smoking is going to kill you, what could possibly make a doctor tell you not to quit" It is true. I have PTSD with every symptom except for dual identity disorder. Since I am a smoker my anxiety comes down quicker from a panic attack if I'm able to get away and have a smoke... there is medication that can do the same and I've been on it before, but when I am on that medication while it brings my anxiety down it puts me in a mental haze and therefore makes my intrusive thoughts and disosciation happen much more often. so, until my doctors are able to get my symptoms lowered and can control them with less medication I am not to quit smoking.


would I like to quit... my wallet would sure like that... and lung health wise - yes I would... but right now it's not possible.


so if I were told "quit or else you're out" I would be out... regardless of all the things I do for the unit, regardless of the fact that I never smoke around the boys.


we actually had a campout where we gathered out in the parking lot for our roses and thorns - there was a big pile of butts on the ground, my son looked at me and I said they weren't mine... one boy said of course they aren't she's been with us all weekend so she didn't smoke at all.... I chuckled in my head because over that weekend I had smoked a pack without anyone having any idea.

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BSA and total prohibition on smoking. This topic comes up just about every year during our council's summer camp. The people I find most adamant about it are former smokers. Camp requires any smoker to take it to the back of the parking lot. A few folks meet there after meals - myself included. Some gather there throughout the day. I pop in once in a while. There are picnic tables scattered about along the edge of the parking lot and sometimes a merit badge program will be going on. Still, some diehards have a smoke. Again, I do not - keep it away from the boys.


As far as sneaking off to take a walk or collect firewood or something similar - I don't think really fools the boys for long.


I've known Troops to turn away volunteers because of smoking. Kinda extreme in my view, but that's their Troop. We've had smokers as leaders in our Troop over the years. Most were mindful of keeping it away from the boys. One never made the attempt. He spoke often about his time as a youth in Boy Scouts and his SM back then. He always remembered the SM had a cig dangling from his lips. Guess he was reliving his youth and saw no problem with it.


I don't even agree with adults sitting around the campfire smoking after the lads have gone to bed. Then again, my husband enjoys a good cigar from time-to-time and I can envision a few men sitting around a lowering campfire, looking up at a star-filled sky, puffing away on their stogies and doing the male bonding thing.


Vicki - assuming from your name you are a female, you really smoke cigars?

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Smoking must be a regional thing. Here in Colorado, no scouter smokes at campouts and it is never an issue, even at summer camp. Now we do have a significant number of LDS units, we are not, but none of our adults are smokers. The smokers I do see at public campgrounds are either my parents generation (70+) or those who would never be scouts, the tattoo and piercings crowd.

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One has to wonder if we are using the Scout "Oath and Law" for their intended purposes or just to pass judgement? For many years the National Council has really not focused on adult health and that is changing. Applicants to the 2010 Jamboree will have to meet Philmont weight requirements and rumor has it that the BSA is about to get very serious about these requirements going forward.


As a former smoker I understand who we as a group tend to protect the rights of those who smoke. It is an addiction I would not wish on any person. That said it is legal and some people need to do it. That does not mean that I won't advocate those people quit. I just do it differently.


As for being overweight in this day and age any unit casting off a youth or adult for this should be really cautious. After All Scouting is about self improvement. That could be the unit's opportunity to help people change. I have never read anything in our program that says we should force people out because of their health. A better idea might be for a group of peers, be they youth or adults, reach out and help that leader make a change.


We all have the power change lives. Scouting is not just about changing the lives of youth. One of the greatest Scoutmasters I know will tell you that to this day he does not know who got more out of Scouting. Even while his sons advanced in rank and grew a youth the program challenged he way he did things and made him a better teacher and Doctor.


Great Scouting!

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"Any adult ought to be able to go without tobacco for the duration of a scouting event. BSA should have a total prohibition of it"

I stand behind this. I am aware of the neurophysiology of nicotine and its addictiveness. Medical conditions notwithstanding, I agree with GWD-scouter - the boys see through the charades and the lies and they do so without the subtleties with which we practice adult self-deceptions. These are not the lessons that we should be teaching our children.


If an adult leader can't make it through a troop meeting without tobacco, he/she needs to find some other way to serve youth. If an adult leader can't make it through the weekend or the week of camp, then other leaders who CAN do it should be engaged for duty. The boys should not have to reconcile the hypocrisy of their leaders. There will be plenty of opportunity learn about those things once they are of voting age.


All the rationalizations are just that...rationalizations for behavior that we leaders, BSA, the boys, the parents, and all others know is unhealthy...for both the leaders and the boys. Moreover, hiding behind the lies that these rationalizations represent sets a bad example for the boys. In so doing, the leaders teach the boys that it is acceptable to engage in harmful behaviors, as long as we make lame attempts to hide those behaviors from the children. As far as I am concerned, one of the worst harms is in the lie itself.


The speculative threat of loss of leaders amounts to little more than holding a known health concern (not to mention BSA policy) hostage to nicotine addiction and nicotine addicts. The ban on alcohol hasn't produced such a loss of leaders and without some evidence to the contrary, I consider threats by nicotine addicts to be unfounded.

If BSA mustered the courage to do so, the remedy for tobacco similarly could be had at the stroke of a pen.

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I guess I owe an apology to this forum for my tone. I have to admit that even after a lifetime of living in the South, I still get into a bad mood when people here confirm the stereotypes. And recently I've been saddened by a tragic event that has befallen some friends, one of whom was a scout in this unit. His father (with whom I've similarly argued about tobacco on many occasions) recently murdered his mother. The whole thing is just so terribly sad. All so tragic and so unnecessary, it just makes me want to give it up. I probably should take some of the edge off so I think I'll just go away for a while. Sorry.

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Pack, your posts did come across a bit stronger than usual, but I just chalked it up to having very strong feelings against smoking. Don't feel you need to apologize to anyone. Although I am curious about the statement about folks here living up to the southern stereotype.


Sorry you are dealing with such sorrows in your life. Take some time, regather yourself, and come back soon.

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As a Scoutmaster I kind of feel like I'm the patrol leader of the adults while on campouts. I don't want the adults smoking in sight of the Scouts but I also don't want them smoking around me or my campsite. Someone asked if it is a youth protection issue - it is. Science is finding out that the health effects from second hand smoke are much worse than first thought. I also request that all smokers field strip their butts and take the filters home with them.


Overweight Scouters are not usually a health risk to the Scouts. They can also be useful as an example to boys who may visualize and witness the shortcomings that obesity may bring to individuals.


To address these issues, we do need to remember to be courteous, kind, cheerful and for those who do smoke please be obedient to the G2SS. As with most things, following the Scout Oath and Law will solve most anything. :)

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When you can get your hands on it, "Footsteps of the Founder" has some good advice on the smoking issue in pages 168-170...and B-P wrote the comments long before the scientific evidence we have today about the harms of smoking!

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