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British Army to extinguish smoking in 2022 

A quick ciggy behind the tank sheds will soon be a thing of the past as the British Army is set to go tobacco-free at all its sites in the UK by 31 December 2022.


The Defence Smoke-Free Working Environment directive supports the Government’s aim to reduce the percentage of UK adults who smoke from 15.5 per cent to 12 per cent or less. 

Smoking has been part of Army culture since smoking cigarettes first became popular in the 1950s. The unhealthy addiction is one of the leading causes of premature death with 200 people dying each day from smoking in England. However, the culture is changing and today’s soldiers are more conscious about the affects smoking has on their health. 

Launched to coincide with Stoptober (it’s the tenth year Stoptober has run during the month of October), Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has directed the policy to help smokers give up and to prevent non-smokers from taking up the habit. Vaping will still be allowed in designated areas. 

Support to help stop smoking 

Quitting smoking is easier with the right support, much of which is available free, either through the Medical Centres for Regular Service Personnel or via the NHS (GPs) or Local Authority for Reservists and civilians. Friends and family can also provide support by quitting too. 

NHS stop smoking service is available across the whole of the UK, including online advice, emergency phone number for local stop smoking service and advice on nicotine replacement products provided on the NHS. 

The definition of the smoke-free policy is: “Prohibition of the use of all tobacco products (including combustible and chewing tobacco products) within the perimeter of a Defence site and/or near to site entrances*. The policy is Whole Force and includes anyone on site (including contractors, visitors and other non-MOD personnel) all hours and all days.” 

The primary objectives of Tobacco Free Working Environment are: 

  • Prevent non-smokers from becoming smokers 
  • Educate personnel and staff on the benefits of not smoking  
  • Protect people from second-hand smoke 
  • Support existing smokers to give up smoking. 

*Includes all defence sites with the exception of single living accommodation. Family accommodation is governed by the rules of the tenancy agreement.