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Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em: Pentagon, DoD consider banning sale of tobacco on military bases

by AirTalk®

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US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Lipton, from Summers, CT, takes a cigarette break on the side of the USS Wasp(LHD-1) Februariy 5, 2012, during Operation Bold Alligator 2012, a multinational military exercise involving 14,000 Marines, Sailors, Airmen, and Soldiers with more than 25 ships and 8 countries. AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Smokers in the military may have to go off base to get their cigarettes and chewing tobacco if Congress decides to enact a ban on the sale of tobacco products on U.S. military bases.

The Defense Department and Congress are currently mulling over the bill, which would prevent the sale of cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco on military bases, in the hopes of snuffing out high smoking rates in the military. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus was the first to bring up the issue, and shortly after he did, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the Defense Department to review the issue.

Supporters of the ban say that members of the military are expected to be in peak physical condition and that curbing tobacco use would help better prepare those enlisted. Opponents, like Congressman and Marine reservist Duncan Hunter (R-CA), say that tobacco use isn't curbed for anyone else, and that those people who are putting their lives on the line to protect American freedom shouldn't have their own freedoms taken away.

If the discussion is going to happen in Congress, it will most likely be during the upcoming lame-duck session.

Guests:

Karen Jowers, reporter for Military Times

Greg Haifley, director of federal relations at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

Rick Ungar, senior political contributor at Forbes, host of Steele & Ungar on Sirius XM

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