Navy may ban tobacco sales on bases, ships


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Navy sailors may soon not be able to buy tobacco products on bases or on ships.

The Navy is joining some well-known companies in the U.S., such as CVS, that have taken steps to promote smoking cessation and discourage tobacco sales.

The Navy started by eliminating sales in its commissaries, then eliminating discounts on tobacco prices in Navy and Marine Corps exchanges in 2012, when about a third of sailors and Marines used some form of tobacco.

Now the Navy may go a step further, removing tobacco products from all of its stores on base.

Some smokers in the Navy are hoping that doesn't happen.

"Well, since being deployed to the Middle East and being a smoker, I disagree with removing them off ships," sailor Michelle Evans said.

The decision would be made at the service's highest levels.

Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence, spokeswoman for the office of the Secretary of the Navy, issued a statement saying, "Maximizing the readiness of our Sailors and Marines has been a priority for Secretary (Ray) Mabus since he took office. Under the 21st Century Sailor and Marine program, the Secretary has implemented a number of initiatives to improve the culture of fitness in the Navy and Marine Corps and curbing tobacco use is a part of that improvement. We've already taken one step by ending price subsidies for tobacco products, and Secretary Mabus has asked his staff to look at additional ways to improve the health and readiness of our force. We are in the early stages of this process."

No decision has been made yet. If the Navy pushes ahead on banning tobacco sales on its ships and bases, the idea could spread to the other services.

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