The U.S. Navy is considering a ban on tobacco sales on all its bases and ships, the Military Times reported Monday, citing sources inside and outside the Pentagon.
Navy officials are reportedly considering removing tobacco from all retail outlets, including exchange-operated sales venues and Morale, Welfare and Recreation program outlets, the report said. Navy commissaries do not sell tobacco products.
Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Flaherty told the Military Times that there have been discussions about tobacco sales, but that no decision has been made.
In a statement Monday, Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence, a spokeswoman for Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, said 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 that process."
Lawrence said Mabus “has implemented a number of initiatives to improve the culture of fitness in the Navy and Marine Corps, and curbing tobacco use is part of that improvement."
The Navy has taken steps in recent years to discourage tobacco sales, such as eliminating sales in its commissaries and removing discounts on tobacco prices in Navy and Marine Corps exchanges in 2012, according to the Military Times.
Navy officials have studying the effects a possible ban on tobacco sales would have on profits for the Navy Exchange Service Command, which supports quality-of-life programs, one source told the publication, adding that the "decision would be made at the service's highest levels."