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Ban on tobacco sales being considered by Navy

The Navy is on the verge of stopping tobacco sales on all its bases and ships.
That's according to a report from the Navy Times, citing sources inside and outside the Defense Department.

A Navy spokeswoman, meanwhile, says no final decisions have been made.
Reaction from members of our local military community.

Right now you can't buy tobacco products at Navy Commissaries. But you can get them at the separate Exchange stores, like the one here at Corry Station.

A smoker who chose to remain anonymous packs some cigarettes he just bought at the Exchange without having to pay sales tax.

Anonymous smoker: "At a local store here I'm paying around six dollars, seven dollars a pack. And here, by the carton it's around $4.50 - $5 a pack."

As you can imagine he's not happy there's even talk of possibly banning tobacco sales on Navy bases and ships.

Anonymous smoker:  "As military people we earned the right to buy tobacco. It's ludicrous."
Defense authorities say last week Navy Secretary Ray Mabus asked staff members to look at the impact of ending tobacco sales as a possible way to improve the health of troops.

They're considering things like the inevitable drop in profits, which help fund Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs.  And whether to ban tobacco sales only in the U.S. or to extend it overseas.

Fred Whiting: "It's detrimental to your health so I'd be in favor of it."
Veterans we spoke with had mixed feelings on the possible ban, which analysts say could wind up spreading to other branches of the military.

Fred Whiting: "The ones I've known that were heavy smokers generally got cancer."
Norman Steele: "They'll just go someplace else and get it. I've been smoking for 70 years. I ain't gonna stop."

The Navy officially says no final decision has yet been made.