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BSA Smoking Policy?

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should be

 

Why do they do this? Why not just state

 

"Smoking is prohibited at all Scouting functions, meetings, and activities."

 

No interpretation necessary.

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evmori,

 

If the policy was as you suggest, then there'd be a heck of a lot of parents and leaders who still partake of the demon weed who wouldn't be able to serve or volunteer.

 

And something tells me there's probably still a smoking stoop at Irving ...

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Hey all thanks for all the input.Didn't mean to start a major debate,Should've seartched the archives.I don't think smokers are bad people,but I do think it should be done away from the boys.I'm sure some of them never thought a thing about it.I wouldn't make it an issue if it was going to hurt the pack,my aunt was one of them.I don't think they know there is a policy at all.The policy will at least let them know BSA suggests it should be done away from scouts.

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The mission of the Boy Scout of America is to prepare young people to make ethical choices over their lifetimes ...

 

Fulfilling the BSA mission starts with each adult leader believing in it and personally following it. A rigid rule ala da da da is PROHIBITED doesn't work nearly as well as each adult reflecting on the Mission and acting accordingly. We have to teach boys how to do the right thing, even when there is no rule.

 

The question to answer is, does smoking, either in front of boys, or secretly, help or hinder fulfilling our mission.

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Ok FScouter, I guess that's why the BSA doesn't have any rigid rules, but just lets adults reflect and figure out what is "right" and teach the boys accordingly. No need for rigid rules...

 

...oh but wait. Here's the section of the G2SS that is right next to the "rule" on smoking:

 

"The Boy Scouts of America prohibits the use of alcoholic beverages and controlled substances at encampments or activities on property owned and/or operated by the Boy Scouts of America, or at any activity involving participation of youth members."

 

Sounds pretty rigid. Not a lot of room to reflect on the mission there. No drinking. No drugs. Period. You don't need to figure out what's ethical; the BSA tells you in no uncertain terms.

 

Same with this:

 

"The BSA does not permit the use of corporal punishment by unit leaders when disciplining youth members."

 

Sounds rigid to me. You don't get to decide whether corporal punishment is right or wrong. It's not permitted, and that's it.

 

And how about this:

 

"Male and female youth participants will not share the same sleeping facility."

 

No need to reflect there either. No need to sit down with your Venturers and discuss what an ethical sleeping arrangement would be. Joe tents with George over here, and Cindy tents with Sue over there. Otherwise, here's my cell phone, call Mom or Dad to pick you up.

 

And there are others, but I focused on rules that involved ethical choices. These are rigid rules. Why then, in the area of smoking, does the BSA lose its nerve and forget how to write a simple declarative sentence?

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They're giving folks a chance to do the right thing. If they're not up to the task, they'll get a rigid rule instead.

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Smoking is not illegal if you are of age. So what do you mean by doing the "right thing" FScouter?

 

Does not wearing the uniform properly in front of the Scouts hinder the mission?

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The answer to why the ambiguity in the tobacco rules is simple. A smoker can function quite well as a leader while smoking. Smoking doesn't impair judgement. Hence, there is really no reason to not allow adults to smoke out of the presence of scouts. Alcohol is a different matter. A drinker is not able to function well as a leader while drinking. Drinking does impair judgement. Hence, the absolute ban on alcohol while scouting.

 

In terms of legality, as evmori pointed out about smoking, it is legal, however, so is drinking alcohol.

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Perdidochas says:

 

A smoker can function quite well as a leader while smoking.

 

That's a matter of opinion. I think the leader is setting a poor example for the kids by engaging in an unhealthy activity. Apparently the BSA agrees, but they won't go to the next logical step. And the idea that leaders can smoke "away from the boys" is not much of a help in my opinion. I have seen leaders try to do this, and they usually don't make enough of an effort. The boys usually know what is going on anyway. And why are leaders doing things that they have to hide from the boys? (Other than those private activities covered in the YP guidelines, I mean.)

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A smoker can function quite well as a leader while smoking.

 

 

By that, I simply mean that smoking doesn't disable the mind, as does alcohol. Also, having been around people in nicotine withdrawal, I think a smoker with nicotine in their system probably has better judgement than a smoker that is in withdrawal.

 

Smoking is legal (for now) and is a hard thing to quit. Unless we want to get rid of all smokers as volunteers, some accommodation (i.e. hiding from the kids while doing it) has to be done. I think vigileagle's telling the scouts he smokes and that he regrets it (and hides it as much as possible) is a reasonable solution.

 

BTW, I'm not a smoker and never have been, but I don't think it's a good thing to throw all smokers out as volunteers or to have a zero tobacco policy for adults.

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Way Way Way back, when I was naught but a child, after Brownsea island but before the tragic termination of the beloved red berets, the Troop of my youth had an alcohol policy.

 

Most of the adults would have a can, yes A as in one can of beer at the Saturday night campfire. The youth knew better than to drink any as they would have been swiftly dealt with there and also when they got delivered home. I have often thought it might be a good idea for adults to "model" appropriate behavior when consuming alcohol to show the youth you can imbibe and not be stupid. Unfortunately with a National organization, that is not possible. Actually I don't know if there was a Nationa Policy against alcohol back then but I digress.

 

A scoutmaster involved in an auto accident, even if he got rear ended while at a traffic light with alcohol on his breath is in trouble, with tobacco on his breath, well he just stinks a little. A youth who is injured and when the EMTs come and smell alcohol on the adults there is a different thought process than if its tobacco, or garlic.

 

We want our volunteers to be expert woodsmen, to be fully trained in all aspects of scout craft, we want them to be in top physical shape and now we want them to be tobacco free. How long before we weed out 90% of the volunteer pool?

 

 

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NJCubScouter: "And why are leaders doing things that they have to hide from the boys?"

 

Perhaps because the GTSS says to?

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SR540Beaver: Right, if they smoke, which they don't have to do. It's pretty clear that the writers of the G2SS would rather that Scouts not smoke at all while at any BSA activity.

 

But let's look at what they actually say about where smoking can take place:

 

"All Scouting functions, meetings, and activities should be conducted on a smoke-free basis, with smoking areas located away from all participants."

 

Has anyone ever seen a camping trip with a "smoking area"? I never have. Fortunately, none of the adults in my son's troop has ever smoked while on a camping trip, as far as I know. I have seen Scouters smoke at district events, but there was no "smoking area" there either. As I recall, the usual "smoking area" of choice is behind a troop trailer or similar vehicle, where any Scout could come walking around the back at any time, which I don't count as "away from all participants."

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"Has anyone ever seen a camping trip with a 'smoking area'?

 

Not on a troop campout. At Camporee they tend to be either buried behind the adult staff area or out in the parking lot. At summer camps it will tend to be behind the mess hall, especially if the cooking in contracted out. At the Philmont Training Center it is in the ramada in the northeast corner. People tend to stick with their unit except for the smokers. If you want to get to know scouters in other units the smoking area is a good place to go, even if you don't smoke.

 

I think we are down to one smoker in the troop now and he goes out to his truck. I've never seen him light up but the smell makes it obvious.

 

I used to be a smoker

And a good ol' smoker too

But now I just smoke brisket

Some ham and turkey too

I'll still miss my Camels

But I'm gonna clear my lungs if I can

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