Clinton's tobacco stance filters down to military
Troops will pay more for cigarettesAugust 23, 1996
Web posted at: 10:00 p.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon announced Friday that the price of cigarettes for U.S. service members around the world will rise dramatically on November 1.
Members of the military have long paid very low, subsidized prices for their cigarettes. But following the lead of the Clinton administration in its new get-tough policy on tobacco, the Pentagon will no longer make it inexpensive for the troops to smoke.
The rationale, according to a senior defense official who asked not to be named, is twofold: Smoking affects the health, which impacts health costs and the "readiness" of military personnel; critics of smoking have complained about military subsidies of cigarettes.
The official said the price of a generic carton of cigarettes now sold to military personnel in the United States for $7.09 will increase to $8.75. A carton of Marlboro that now sells for $12.18 will be $15.25. Those average prices will vary based on state taxes and other factors.
Overseas, where service members pay no U.S. or state tax on cigarettes, the cost of generic cigarettes will rise from $3.86 per carton to $6.30; the cost of premium cigarettes will increase from $9.24 to $13.34.
The price at Post Exchanges (PXs) will remain the same for the most part, because those tobacco products are not subsidized to the same extent as military commissaries.
The Pentagon said about 32 percent of the military uses tobacco products, compared to some 51 percent in 1980. The goal is to reduce usage to 20 percent, officials said. There are 58 million cigarette cartons sold per year at military commissaries and PXs around the world.
"The price change is aimed at discouraging the consumption of tobacco products," the Pentagon said.
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