Article Text

Download PDFPDF
The association of smoking and the cost of military training
  1. Robert C Klesgesa,
  2. C Keith Haddockb,
  3. Cyril F Changa,
  4. G Wayne Talcottc,
  5. Harry A Landod
  1. aUniversity of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, bUniversity of Missouri, Kansas City, Missouri, USA, cUSAF Surgeon General's Office, Washington DC, USA, dUniversity of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  1. Robert C Klesges PhD, The University of Memphis Center for Community Health, Suite 675, 5350 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38119, USA bklesges{at}


OBJECTIVE To determine if premature discharge from the US Air Force was associated with the smoking status of recruits.

DESIGN AND SETTING A total of 29 044 US Air Force personnel recruited from August 1995 to August 1996 were administered baseline behavioural risk assessment surveys during basic military training. They were tracked over a 12 month period to determine those who were prematurely discharged.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Excess training costs as a result of premature discharge.

RESULTS In this 12 month period, 14.0% of those entering the US Air Force were discharged at a one year follow up. In both univariate and multivariate models, the best single predictor of early discharge was smoking status. Overall, 11.8% of non-smokers versus 19.4% of smokers were prematurely discharged (relative risk 1.795).

CONCLUSIONS Using US Department of Defense data on the cost of military training, recruits who smoke in the US Air Force are associated with $18 million per year in excess training costs. Applied to all service branches, smoking status, which represents a constellation of underlying behaviours and attitudes that can contribute to early discharge, is associated with over $130 million per year in excess training costs.

  • military
  • smoking ban
  • training costs

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.