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Dept. of Defense considers tobacco ban


WASHINGTON The Department of Defense on Monday posted a blog asking service men and women to comment on the potential usage ban of tobacco products across the military, stating that more than 30% of active-duty military personnel and about 22% of veterans use tobacco products, versus a 20% usage rate among the general public.

One suggestion raised within the ensuing comments was to pull tobacco products out of military exchanges, which are generally managed by AAFES. “It is time for Health Affairs to request that tobacco no longer be sold in military commissaries and BX/PX,” suggested one officer. “Why are we subsidizing this? Unlike alcohol, tobacco is a known carcinogen and there is no safe dosage. Forcing members to purchase tobacco on the economy is a very effective tool in reducing usage.”

“On the economy” is military parlance for general public retail, where retail prices are generally higher than those offered through military-only retail outlets.

The DoD stated that the rate of tobacco use in the military has increased since 1998, threatening to reverse the steady decline of the last several decades and smoking rates among military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan may be 50% higher than rates among non-deployed military personnel.

DoD spends more than $1.6 billion per year on tobacco-related medical care, increased hospitalizations, and lost days of work, the agency stated.

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