- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The U.S. Navy is about to ban all sales of cigarettes and other tobacco items from its bases and ships, Defense Department sources said on Tuesday.

Both Fox News and The Navy Times reported the mulled move, but Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence, a spokeswoman for Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, said the final decision has yet to be made, although the health and welfare of sailors is of utmost concern.

Mr. Mabus has expressed an intent at “maximizing the readiness” of both sailors and Marines since he assumed office, Ms. Lawrence said in The Navy Times. And he’s already “implemented a number of initiatives to improve the culture of fitness in the Navy and Marine Corps, and curbing tobacco use is part of that improvement.”

The Navy Times said the proposed policy would remove all forms of tobacco from exchange-operated stores and from base-operated retailers. Commissaries on naval bases already don’t sell tobacco products.

Among the considerations for decision-makers, which The Navy Times said involved the highest ranking in the branch, was how much money would be lost by banning tobacco sales. Some of those tobacco sales dollars go toward the Navy Exchange Service Command, which puts on morale, welfare and recreational programs for sailors on naval installations.