A new smoking policy was issued from Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) Commanding Officer David A. Bitonti, which outlines rules and encourages more stringent enforcement of smoking regulations on base.
“According to the Surgeon General of the United States, ‘There is no question that the use of tobacco products impairs the health and readiness of the Armed Forces of the United States,’ and I couldn’t agree more,” said Bitonti.
Outlined in the policy are locations that currently, and will continue to prohibit smoking. Tobacco use, including smokeless tobacco, is prohibited in all buildings on the NSAB installation including entryways, exits and other egress points to buildings and garages. These areas include the living and common areas of the Bachelor Quarters, the Navy Lodge, Fisher Houses and other family living quarters. While there are multiple outdoor areas, there are no designated smoking areas around Buildings 1-10, 19, 63, 42, A-E and 43-48.
The document also discourages those who smoke while walking from one place to another on base. Bitonti made a special point to discourage military personnel from doing so, stating that, “it is inappropriate and detracts from military bearing.”
These rules apply not only to service members, but also government civilian employees, volunteers, contractors, residents, patients and visitors on the NSAB installation. Anyone on base who doesn’t adhere to the policy and are found using tobacco in unauthorized areas is subject to disciplinary action.
Civilian and contract government employees may receive notices of disciplinary action ranging from a letter of caution to removal from their jobs. Military members who fail to adhere to policy rules may be referred for disciplinary action under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.
Many of the rules outlined in the policy reflect the conditions already found on base which won’t affect smokers directly. “Those who already smoke on base know tobacco can only be purchased at the Navy Exchange, it’s not advertised and it’s sold alongside smoking cessation products. This has always been the case here,” said NSAB Executive Director Bill Meekins.
He continued to stress that for those looking to quit, the base in partnership with Walter Reed Bethesda, will continue to offer services and support.
Bitonti urged cooperation of service members, staff and residents to make sure smokers are utilizing the approved locations on the installation. “We want to provide a healthy and smoke free environment - we can’t do that without everyone’s help. If you see someone smoking in a building, near an entrance, near an exit or anywhere outside of the designated area, politely ask them to stop. It is best to be politely reminded.”