What’s the quickest way to find out if someone might make a good soldier?

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Previous studies indicate that smokers attrite from military service at significantly higher rates than nonsmokers. The purpose of the current effort is twofold: (a) to examine the implications of treating smoking status as a third military accession quality indicator along with educational credential and mental ability, and (b) to explore preservice psychosocial and health differences between smokers and nonsmokers in support of hypothesis development about reasons for elevated attrition rates in smokers. The results indicate that individuals who smoke tobacco prior to entering military service are almost twice as likely to attrite as nonsmokers, even after statistically controlling for education and mental ability. Moreover, smokers report higher rates of psychosocial and health problems prior to military service. These results support using smoking status as a personnel quality indicator for recruiting and assignment purposes and indicate that smokers, as a group, enter the military with identifiable psychosocial and physical vulnerabilities.

Source: “Tobacco Smoking as an Index of Military Personnel Quality” from Military Psychology, Volume 19, Issue 4 September 2007 , pages 273 – 287

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