BSA Smoking Policy
Wed, 28 Sep 1994 10:17:04 -0700
John A. Gareri writes...
"Question. WHat do you do about older scouts smoking on camping
"trips? We had an incedent on a recent camping trip and I am not
"sure how to handle it. The scouts are 16-17 years old and are
"leaders in the troop. They know that it is against scouting policy
"to smoke because they would go off and hide it.
"How do others handle the situation? The scouts are great scouts
"and are certainly the ones you would like around to run the troop,
"but the issue of smoking is certainly one that needs to be addressed.
Well, I looked up smoking on the on-line G2SS that I have access to,
but the only reference there is to keeping personal smoking materials
away from areas where liquid fuel containers are being filled, or where
liquid fuel is being used. So, I called the Coucil Office, and got the
Smoking by older Scouts:
Is highly discouraged! Older Scouts are providing a role model,
willing or not, to the younger Scouts. Older Scouts are requested
to NOT SMOKE while attending ANY BSA, or TROOP, Functions. This
DOES include campouts. Smoking by older Scouts is not considered
compatable with the values or image that Scouting wishes to instill.
Smoking by Leaders:
Is discouraged. However, if a leader feels that he must smoke, he
is encouraged to do so away from the boys, preferably in a "designated
While this information has not yet been published in the "Guide to
Safe Scouting", it is anticipated to be in the next printing of that
Now, a personal word. The information that I related above is not
the verbatim quote, nor was the information given to me verbatim.
This was the result of a Ph. conversation between myself and one of the
Council Officers. I just wanted to make that clear, so that I couldn't
be accused of mis-quoting THIS time. ;)
So, in answer to John's question, what to do? I think that a suspension
of their leadership duties (if they have any) might be appropriate.
I LIKE the suggestion concerning a report on lung cancer to be given to
the Troop, but did the Troop know of this, or just the adult leadership?
Maybe a report on what makes a good leader, and why violating ANY rule
by a potential leader makes him less effective.
The problem of youth or leader smoking is not only to do with personal
health. Consider the problem of the potential for forest or prarrie
fire. We had a camporee a few years ago, up on the plateau, on some
private property. When we went in on Friday night, the grass was about
2 feet high. I observed an adult leader from an adjacent Pack (Webelos
Leader, I think) carrying a lighted cigarette with about a half inch of
ash around in the grass. She became very indignant when I suggested
that she should wait to smoke untill the tent was up, and she had a
clear area in which to smoke.
ASM Troop 323
Grand Canyon Council
I didn't used to be anything! (Except younger) Maybe someday...
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Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City