Air Force changes tattoo rules, recruiting restrictions

The U.S. Air Force announced Tuesday that it will institute new, more accepting policies on tattoos and marijuana usage beginning Feb. 1 in an effort to boost recruitment numbers.

Under the new policy, tattoos will no longer be restricted by the “25 percent” rule, which allowed tattoos on the chest, back, arms and legs — but they could not cover more that 25 percent of the exposed body part.

As reported by Air Force Times, tattoos body markings or brands on the head, neck, face, tongue, lips and scalp are still prohibited. Hand tattoos will be limited to one single-band ring tattoo, on one finger.

Tattoos that are obscene or discriminate against gender, race, religion and sexual orientation also remain prohibited.

According to a recent review of Air Force field recruiters, almost half of contacts, applicants and recruits had tattoos. Almost one-fifth of those had tattoos that would be disqualifying under the 25 percent rule.