Re: Where there's smoke, there's ire!
Charlie Thorpe (charlie2@RO.COM)
Thu, 4 Apr 1996 01:21:30 -0600
Hello All -
Thanks for all the interesting posts on the smoking issue (list and
private). I didn't intend to start a debate on the pro's/con's of smoking
by Scouters, but I was interested to find that the range of opinions on the
list is similar to the range of opinions held around here (and is quite a
bit more biased against smoking than in nearby rural areas).
I prefer to be in a non-smoking environment myself, but I must admit that I
am not at all willing to lose the services to Scouting of some of my
wonderful Scouting friends who still use tobacco. It is obvious to me that
we MUST solve the problem of users having a direct impact on others
(second-hand smoke, dip/chew spitting, fire hazard, litter, etc.), but I
think that we need to be a little careful who we are willing to tar and
feather when it comes to indirect negatives (bad example, health care
costs, etc.). Today's nicotine pariah (no problemo...) might just become a
caffeine pariah tomorrow (BIG problemo! <g>)... AND...what about those
Mac-i-doo French fries the day after...
Actually, I think that the best possible tobacco related example that could
be put in front of our Scouts is the typical 3-pack a day smoker! We need
to let the Scouts camp nearby so that they can hear him cough up the bottom
of his lungs on a cool damp morning....and hike nearby so that they can
watch him wheeze to a stop on the first good uphill stretch of trail we
come to. They need to be able to feel his jitters when he runs out (two
days from anywhere) and starts to go into withdrawal...and smell his car
ashtrays on a hot/humid summer day.
Hmmmm, on second thought, that would be the second best example....the BEST
example would be to take the Scout who was interested in tobacco and
introduce him to a cute young lady...who chewed or dipped!
Whoa...I digress <g>.
I brought up the subject of smoking because we did a little one-two on our
participants at our last Scoutmastership Fundamentals Part III. On
Saturday night (cracker barrel and fireside chat) we divided up the staff
to discuss various "values" topics with the Patrols. One of the topics
related to smoking by adults and the "value of Scouting" that our Staff
Guide called for us to bring out was:
"Scouting recognizes that smoking is a personal preference, but that Scouts
should be discouraged from smoking. Leaders should avoid smoking when in
the company of Scouts."
This language would seem to suggest that it would be OK for adults to smoke
when not in the company of Scouts during a Scout activity.
The next morning we passed out copies of the Guide to Safe Scouting and
language in it seems to suggest that smoking is absolutely forbidden at any
BSA activity involving youth.
Does the G2SS language really mean that a smoker would have to completely
do without the ENTIRE time that he/she is at Philmont? Going and coming?
Jamboree? Going and coming? (We are talking WEEKS here...) If a smoker
sneaks off into the woods (away from the Scouts) to grab a quick smoke,
does that mean that he is NOT considered to be on a Scout activity while he
is smoking? Does his Scout insurance stop when he lights up and start
again when he stubs it out? If it isn't kosher to consume nicotine by
smoking on a Scout activity, is it still OK to consume nicotine by
sniffing, dipping, chewing, or wearing a nicotine patch?
I (and 80+ other Scouters on that Sunday morning) decided that there wasn't
enough information in the single G2SS sentence to warrant a complete change
in how we select people to be Scouters. I, for one, am going to have to
have a LOT more instruction from "on high" before I start dumping otherwise
super Scouters who happen to smoke and whose addiction won't let them
abstain for the entire duration of a Scout activity involving youth.
So, this brings me back to what I was looking for in my original posting:
Does anybody know what the current BSA policy on tobacco use by adults
(during activities involving youth) is really intended to be?
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City