Members of the military who smoke may soon find it tougher to buy cigarettes.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says he’s reviewing whether the Pentagon should ban tobacco sales and smoking on bases and ships.
“The cost, health care costs are astounding, well over a billion dollars, just in the Department of Defense, on tobacco-related illness and health care,” said Hagel. “Now, the dollars are one thing, but the health of your people, I don’t know if you put a price tag on that.”
At least one lawmaker doesn’t like the idea. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California), who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Navy that said, “Overall, removing tobacco sales is perceived more as a political decision, intended to make a point, than it is a decision that supports our sailors and Marines – regardless of personal feelings on the individual and legal use of tobacco products.”
Right now, the Pentagon makes $100 million every year selling tobacco, which is used to fund recreation programs on military bases and family support programs.
Should the military ban tobacco sales on bases and ships, or should it continue? Share your comments below, and watch for them on WBZ News in the Morning from 4:30 to 7:00 a.m.