Smoking status and physical fitness during initial military training

Siddall, Andrew G., Bilzon, James L. J., Thompson, Dylan, Greeves, Julie P., Izard, Rachel and Stokes, Keith (2017) Smoking status and physical fitness during initial military training. Occupational Medicine, 67 (3). pp. 205-210. ISSN 1471-8405

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Background: Habitual smoking is prevalent in military populations, but
whether smoking status influences physical fitness development during training is
not clear.

Aims: We investigated the effect of smoking status on physical fitness
parameters during initial British Army Infantry training.

Methods: Routine measures of physical fitness (2.4 km run time and
maximum number of press ups and sit ups in two minutes) were obtained in 1,182
male recruits (mean ± SD: age 20 ± 3 y, body mass 70.6 ± 9.8 kg, height 1.77 ± 0.07
m; 58% smokers) at weeks 1, 14 and 24 of initial military training. A linear mixed
model was used to identify differences in performance between smokers and nonsmokers over time.

Results: Non-smokers performed significantly better than smokers in all
performance tests (P<0.01), but rates of improvement during training were similar
(P>0.05). Run performance improved by 7% in non-smokers (estimated marginal
means with 95% confidence limits; 612 (608-616) s to 567 (562-572) s) and 8% in
smokers (622 (619-625) s to 571 (568-575) s). Press up performance improved by
18% in non-smokers (48.3 (47.1-49.4) to 57.0 (55.6-58.3)) and 23% in smokers (44.1
(43.2-45.1) to 54.5 (53.3-55.6)) and sit up performance by 15% in non-smokers (57.3
(56.3-58.2) to 66.0 (64.9-67.2)) and 18% in smokers (53.8 (53.0-54.6) to 63.3 (62.3-

Conclusions: Smokers exhibited lower muscular and cardiorespiratory
endurance performance than non-smokers. Unexpectedly however, no significant
differences in improvement in performance indices were demonstrated between
smokers and non-smokers during military training.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The version of record A. G. Siddall, J. L. J. Bilzon, D. Thompson, J. Greeves, R. Izard, K. A. Stokes; Smoking status and physical fitness during initial military training, Occupational Medicine, Volume 67, Issue 3, 1 April 2017, Pages 205–210, DOI: 10.1093/occmed/kqx006 is available online at:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Exercise, military, physical fitness, physical training, smoking.
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
Divisions: Departments > Sport and Exercise Sciences
Depositing User: Andy Siddall
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2019 16:47
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2020 13:24

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