Army bans smoking at Harrogate training college

Army Foundation College, HarrogateImage copyright
Anna Gowthorpe/PA

Image caption

The Army Foundation College in Harrogate trains recruits between the ages of 16 and 17

Smoking will be banned from an Army training centre for teenage recruits.

The commanding officer of the Army Foundation College (AFC) in Harrogate announced the ban on Twitter.

Lt Col Richard Hall said it was “unacceptable” that “most recruits don’t smoke on arrival, yet most do by graduation”.

New recruits will be barred from smoking starting next week, with a complete ban on smoking and vaping at the site by 2020.

In a statement, Lt Col Hall said the smoking ban was in order to develop recruits’ health and fitness.

He added: “I hope that this will discourage smoking amongst new recruits and reverse the recent trend we’ve seen in recruits taking up the habit.”

The decision has met with broad support on Twitter, although one post described it as denying trainees “the right to choose when in a few years you will be expecting them to defend that right if called upon”.

Lt Col Hall said he “expected critics”, but the decision had been “discussed at length over many months”.

The college trains recruits between the ages of 16 and 17.

The Army’s website says it “plays a vital role in providing basic military training and developing future leadership”.

It is against the law for under 18s to buy tobacco in England and Wales, although it is not illegal to smoke under the age of 18.

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