LAWMAKERS MOVE TO STOP PLAN TO RESTRICT MILITARY TOBACCO SALES

LAWMAKERS MOVE TO STOP PLAN TO RESTRICT MILITARY TOBACCO SALES

House lawmakers moved yesterday to protect tobacco sales on military bases and ships, prohibiting Navy plans to drop the products in the name of force health. As part of its annual defense authorization bill mark up on Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee added language forbidding defense officials from enacting “any new policy that would limit, restrict, or ban the sale of any legal consumer product category” on military installations. Sponsor Rep. Duncan Hunter, said the measure was in direct response to reports that the Navy is working to eliminate tobacco sales at exchanges and on ships. Commissaries on Navy bases currently do not sell tobacco products. The move would be the most dramatic so far among military officials trying to keep service members from picking up or continuing the habit. In 2012, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus labeled tobacco as “the most avoidable public health hazard in the Navy and Marine Corps.”

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