- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Pentagon is looking to raise the price of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco sold on U.S. military installations worldwide, in an attempt to wean U.S. service members from tobacco use.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter codified the policy in an April 8th department-wide memorandum, which also expanded smoke-free areas on American military bases, according to Reuters.

The new tobacco policy would increase prices on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco sold at U.S. military commissaries and post exchanges to match the price of tobacco products sold off base, which are subject to state and local taxes.

Currently, tobacco products sold on U.S. bases are tax-free.

Defense Department officials anticipate the policy to save the Pentagon roughly $1.6 billion in lost productivity and health care costs to treat tobacco-related illnesses, Reuters reports. Pentagon officials anticipate those costs to climb upwards of $19 billion over the next decade.

Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association praised the decision, telling Reuters the policy “will be a win-win for health and spending,” within the U.S. military. 

• Carlo Muñoz can be reached at cmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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