The United States Congress and the Defense Department are mulling over a potential ban on tobacco sales on military bases and ships.
They’re doing this in a effort to curb high smoking rates, however, critics say it would be unfair to servicemen and women that are already making sacrifices.
This is nothing new, according to Politico. Navy Secretary Ray Maybus first proposed the ban in March. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a review of the issue then, but nothing since has been discussed.
The potential ban on smoking in the military follows a similar debate happening in the civilian world, after CVS announced it would stop selling tobacco products in all 7,000 of its stores.
Maybe the most opposed on the issue, Rep. Duncan Hunter, served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It’s not curbed for anybody else. Why pick out the folks who choose of their own accord to fight for their country and serve their country, and punish them?” Hunter said in an interview with Politico. “Leave us the hell alone — we’re out here fighting for your freedom, and you’re taking away ours.”
Four Democratic senators that support the ban said the smoking rate for service members is 10 percent higher than that of the general population.
“One in three members of the military today says they started after they enlisted. Why? Well, because we make it easy for them,” Dick Durbin said at a June hearing.
According to Politico, it’s almost certain the 5 percent discount on tobacco products at military exchanges will be lifted, whether there is a ban on tobacco products or not.