The U.S. Navy is considering a ban of tobacco sales on all its bases and ships, and one official said the proposed ban may spread to the Marine Corps too.
According to the Navy Times, sources with the Department of Defense said officials are considering removing tobacco products from all sales venues, including any exchange-operated retail outlets and MWR-operated retail outlets.
A military official told NewsChannel 12 this proposed ban would likely be a department-wide decision, meaning the Marine Corps may be affected since the Marines fall under the U.S. Department of the Navy.
NewsChannel 12 received the following statement from Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence, a Navy spokeswoman.
"Under the 21st Century Sailor and Marine program, the Secretary has implemented a number of initiatives to improve the culture of fitness in the Navy and Marine Corps and curbing tobacco use is a part of that improvement. We've already taken one step by ending price subsidies for tobacco products, and Secretary Mabus has asked his staff to look at additional ways to improve the health and readiness of our force. We are in the early stages of this process."
Camp Lejeune Marine Lance Cpl. Bradley Wickham has smoked for the last three years. He says he thinks the ban would be an inconvenience and wouldn't stop everyone from smoking.
"We're all grown men and women," Wickham said. "We understand the risks that go with it. And we make that choice to light that cigarette or put in a little bit of dip. The prices don't stop people, so I don't see how distance can really stop them."
Pam Brown, spokeswoman for the Onslow County Health Department, says this is a sign that the times are changing.
"We see a lot of employers that are going more toward a smoke free work environment," Brown said. "I think it's just a trend. It's just where we're going."