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canetuck

BSA Smoking Policy?

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By the way, I do realize I am kind of a hard-liner about this smoking thing. I apologize if I have offended anyone, and I do not mean to start any arguments. So if you are a smoker and easily offended, or just offended by anti-smoking viewpoints in general, stop reading here, because I want to explain myself.

 

If I were King of the World, smoking would be banned (and I realize that as a result, shortly thereafter, I would probably no longer be King of the World.) I have just seen too many peoples' lives destroyed, or in the process of being destroyed, because of it. I have a daughter who, as a teenager, unfortunately became hooked on it (unbeknownst to her father for more than a year), and through a lot of effort and purchases (by me) of expensive gum and other stuff, not to mention her own desire to quit, she quit. I am convinced that everybody can quit, although I realize that my personal experience helping someone who had smoked for a couple of years is not the same as someone who has been smoking for 40 years. Unfortunately, for most of the people I have known who smoked for 40 or 30 years, quitting is no longer an issue.

 

This is why I think the BSA should simply ban smoking at any BSA activity, period. OGE's concern about driving away even more leaders is a reasonable concern. But I balance that, along with the right to decide things for yourself, and other anti-smoking-ban arguments, against the harmful effects of smoking, and I come up with a different result than OGE and probably most readers of this forum. I know that the kids know when a leader is a smoker, and I also know that the kids are prone to emulate the behavior of the adults around them. I also realize that kids have tons of other influences prompting them to do all kinds of things that aren't good for them. I just don't want to see Scouting (through the actions of some local leaders, though discouraged by National) contribute to a problem that destroys lives. And I know that nobody will be offended by this, because I told you that if you were going to be offended, you should stop reading two paragraphs ago. :)

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NJCubScouter,

 

Don't worry, I'm probably one of the few smokers here, and I understand the sentiment. Honestly, I'd probably like it better if the BSA did go entirely smoke free, it would give me even more incentive to quit. The sentiment you expressed there is one reason I talk to the youth about it rather than hiding the fact I am a smoker. Explaining to them why I don't enjoy being a smoker, why it's bad, and the ill effects I have because of it.

 

Now, I still will not smoke in sight of them, on any trip. I was the medic at the summer camp one year (I know, ironic, eh?) and smoked that entire summer. I was so good at hiding it though that no campers found out, and several staff members even forgot I was a smoker because they just never saw or smelled evidence of it.

 

I actually prefer to take my pipe on camping trips though, for several reasons. First, it helps keep my hand warm on those cold weather trips. Second, there isn't the litter factor. Tobacco ash and tobacco is natural (pipe tobacco doesn't have the chemicals cigarettes have) so there is none of that to deal with. Third, it doesn't stink as bad. Lastly, it just feels much more outdoorsy to me, lol.

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I confess being of two minds about the issue, and thus understand the GSS's ambiguity.

 

Some the folks to whom I trust my kids in a heartbeat smoke regularly. I love sitting around the campfire after the boys are in bead, letting them light up, and hearing them relax and reflect on the day.

 

Nearly all of those folks after age 40 can't handle more than two miles with a full pack on rugged terrain. I want what the tobacco has taken from our boys and girls! I want parents to see how wonderfully their son or daughter perfoms with their crew after 8 miles of rocks and bogs. I want to share with them the sight of a ten point buck that walks into our camp while the kids are playing cards on the forest floor after supper.

 

If an all-out ban would get more parents back-country without losing those precious moments at summer camp, I'd be all for it. But I figure if the previous paragraph won't getcha to ditch the 'baccy or lose the pounds, legislation from on high is going to alienate you. I'll settle for your company in the fore-country and the quality time you can offer my kids when we're there.

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Another angle of this whole discussion is the message smoking sends to the families.

 

When my son joined cub scouts, one of his leaders was/is a smoker. I didn't think too much of it - leaders smoked when I was both a Cub & Boy Scout. I have friends that smoke too. However, my wife was very surprised. Not so much that this fellow smoked, but that he'd smelled very strongly of smoke and that he'd sneak off from time to time for a "break". She also couldn't believe that the BSA hadn't banned it by now.

 

Her impression was something like "I thought Scouting was supposed to guide boys in growing and making good decisions." Having the boys know their Den Leader smokes can't be good.

 

Over time, this DL has really shown he's a great guy and she's quite happy with him, but I still regularly hear "I just wish he wouldn't smoke at Scouting activities".

 

I mention this because she's just one parent. There's been such a push in during many of our lifetimes about not smoking, I think this is a very common sentiment amongst parents today. I know of no parents that want their kids to smoke. Most parents I've talked about this want their kids to see as few smokers as is possible.

 

An official policy from the BSA would give you cover, but I'd recommend thinking about a unit policy.

 

I like a policy like a smokers "don't ask, don't tell". In other words, smoking is legal and you are absolutely free to do it outside of scouting. When you're Scouting, don't smoke. When you're Scouting, don't smell like smoke. When you're Scouting, leave your smoking materials at home so the boys don't see them.

 

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canetuck? I'm guessing Kentucky, right? Burley tobacco country and smooth bourbon.

Anyway, I grew up in NC and tobacco was held in a position slightly below Jesus, slightly above the President (Eisenhower....and way above Kennedy), and I remember dreading the day that I was going to have to learn to smoke in order to join and be a regular member of society. Moreover, when that day came I tried and the reaction of my body revealed a weakness of character that made me give up the attempt. I never became a smoker. For a while I actually felt guilt...but now it looks like I'm going to outlive a whole bunch of my contemporaries.

 

Nevertheless, I agree with NJ. I shake my head when I watch today's students, a significant number of them, outside the buildings smoking. They're supposed to be smart people! One more thing in that long list of things that I just don't 'get'.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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Smoking in front of the boys is certainly unacceptable!

Anything that negatively affects the boys should be regulated and banned! Fat, overweight, out of shape adults should not be allowed around the boys under any circumstance. The Scouts may get the idea that it is acceptable to be fat, overweight, and out of shape.

Ok we have gotten rid of the smokers and the fat people what is next on the agenda!!!

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"Ok we have gotten rid of the smokers and the fat people what is next on the agenda!!!"

 

People who wear too many knots.

 

People who insist on wearing their OA sash to courts of honor.

 

People that wear a mentor's pin on their uniform.

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this may be worthy of a spin off, but I have to ask, how many is too many knots?

 

personally, anyone who allows patrols to camp within 300 feet of each other should be sumarily discharged, WoodBadge beads broken in half and hung by their pink neckers,

 

well maybe not hung, just the bead thing is enough

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I am a smoker.

I'm not proud to admit it.But after smoking for a very long time I'm hooked.

While I'm not serving at present in a position where I'm around our youth members. They tend to just show up!

Part of my (Yes my!!) backyard is full of boats.

A couple of my (Again my!) out-buildings are used for boat repair.

The ash trays in my cars are full.

I suppose I could tell the Scouts that they can no longer use the back yard to store the boats, because I use it when I'm smoking and walking the dogs.

I could evict them from my out buildings, because at times I use them to fix my tractors and light up a cigarette.

No I don't smoke when there are youth members in the cars. I don't smoke where I know my smoking upsets or offends anyone who rides in my car!

Go ahead give me to Royal Order of the Boot.

I can take the resources I allow others to use, I can keep the money I donate. Hey if you can't accept me? Why should I bother to support and be part of an organization where I'm not welcome?

Ea.

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NJCubScouter - you made me remember one of our campouts... I am not the only adult smoker in the troop, but because of non-scout activities a few of the scouts know (obviously my own does)... but at the end of one of our campouts we gathered at the parking lot for our Thorns and Roses endings and some idiot (not me) dumped their entire ashtray right there in the parking lot. My son and another boy that knows I smoke looked at me, and I simply said not mine... well another boy piped up and said how could they be her's she's been with us the whole weekend and hasn't smoked. HAH! I'd smoke almost a pack that weekend! So yes you can hide and keep boys from having any clue!

 

As to all that would say "just quit"... for me at this time it is not an option. I have other medical diagnosis that require medications that if I were to quit smoking would mean that I would have to be under doctors care and would have to continually adjust doses and possibly would require to adjust one to a point where I would not be able to function at an acceptable level. So until I'm able to go 2 months without having to take any extra doses of medications, my doctor will not even allow me to attempt to quit. And the longest I've ever been able to go without those extra doses has only been 1 week and that was a week where I was sick and stuck at home the whole week.

 

Due to the smoking and other medical conditions: no I'm not able to hike 8+ miles, no I'm not able to sit in a room packed full of people, and a whole bunch of other things... so for all the things the troop does I look at the activities and don't volunteer when I can't participate. But there are a ton of other things I can do and am happy to do them for the troop.

 

And as for my smoking - it was until I attended summer camp this past year (a whole 3 years after the "it wasn't her" incident) that the boy finally learned that I do smoke... and it was because of the summer camp rules on smoking. Ironically at any other campout I can hide here and there and go smoke, but at summer camp you are only allowed to smoke at the 1 designated place and it's right there in the open by the parking lot. The boy was walking by and I didn't see him in time to hide it.

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This really shouldn't be a problem as there should never be more than two adults on a campout and they need to be at least a half mile away or the program is ruined. Further would be better, but at least a half mile away. ;)

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Eamonn, I wouldn't worry about the BSA changing its policy, it probably isn't going to happen anytime soon. And I know they don't listen to "NJCubScouter", if they did there would already have been changes to one or two other policies that are discussed in a different part of the forum from time to time.

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