The association of smoking and the cost of military training

Robert C. Klesges, C. Keith Haddock, Cyril F. Chang, G. Wayne Talcott, Harry A. Lando

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-47
Number of pages5
JournalTobacco control
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Military
  • Smoking ban
  • Training costs


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