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Navy Could Ban Tobacco Sales on Bases

But some members of congress are opposed to the ban, saying sailors, soldiers and Marines have the right to smoke if they want.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.
The United States Navy is considering prohibiting the sale of tobacco on Navy and Marine bases.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in an interview while in Rhode Island for the keel laying ceremony of the USS Illinois in Quonset that he is considering a push to ban sales on bases in the hopes of keeping sailors "fit and resilient."

But some members of congress are opposed to the ban, saying sailors, soldiers and Marines have the right to smoke if they want, with Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) telling the House Armed Services Committee that they sleep in the dirt for this country and get shot at "but can't have a cigarette if we want to."

That opposition led to Hunter adding a measure in next year's defense bill to prohibit restrictions on products sold on military bases. That measure, which was backed by the tobacco industry, passed 53-9.

The biggest impact here would be in Newport, which is home to Naval Station Newport and nearly 6,000 employees who work there and about 17,000 students passing through one of the numerous schools on base each year.

The Defense Department reported $620 million in tobacco sales last year and in a 2011 survey, found 24 percent of troops smoke.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Derrick Wise, stationed in Newport, said he quit smoking recently but would have found cigarettes while he was smoking even if they weren't sold on the base.
K-Stick June 06, 2014 at 10:18 AM
It's not like smokes aren't available everywhere, so not selling them on base likely won't be much of a deterrent for service-members. They will however have to pay taxes for them, and to be honest, our uniformed folk need all the breaks they can get...
Steve June 06, 2014 at 10:53 AM
The price of Cigerettes on Military Bases/Post are not cheap like the pre 1980s prices($5 per carton). The cost is very similar to the civilian prices.

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