OBJECTIVE: To assess whether the United States Navy is disproportionately attracting and recruiting female smokers from the civilian sector. METHODS: Standardised comparisons of cigarette use among Navy women recruits and civilian women were conducted with data from a 1996-97 Department of Defense study and the 1994 National Health Interview Survey. RESULTS: Young Navy women recruits (18-22 years) had significantly higher rates of current and heavy smoking than their civilian counterparts after adjusting for differences in sociodemographic characteristics. Smoking rates among older recruits and civilian women (23-30 years) were not significantly different. CONCLUSIONS: It seems that the Navy attracts young civilian women who already smoke, many of whom smoke heavily.
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