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Training for the Royal Marines (RMs) is considered to be one of the most arduous military training regimes in the world. Approximately 16% of the annual intake of recruits suffer an injury. Smoking has been found to be a predisposition to injury.To examine the relationship between recruits’ smoking status on entry to training and subsequent incidence of injury.Retrospective, longitudinal analysis of 1 year's intake of RM recruits at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines.A significantly greater proportion of RM recruits who were smokers on entry to training experienced a physical injury during the course than their non-smoking counterparts (chi-square=8.15, P < 0.01). A recruit who smoked on entry to training was almost twice as likely to acquire an injury during training [relative risk=1.7 (95% CI=1.2–2.8)].Smoking status of RM recruits in training was significantly associated with injury.