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Commissaries Match Exchange Tobacco Prices Nov. 1

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 1996 – Commissaries will charge the same price for tobacco products as military exchanges starting Nov. 1.

Defense officials recently announced the change, saying commissary customers may still purchase tobacco, but the exchanges will set prices and manage sales in military facilities. Fred Pang, assistant defense secretary for force management policy, said DoD is taking this step to enhance personnel readiness by discouraging smoking and promoting healthier lifestyles.

"Currently, discounted prices of tobacco products in military commissaries send a mixed signal to our people about the seriousness of our tobacco cessation policy," he said. Although DoD aggressively discourages tobacco use and promotes smoking cessation programs, about 32 percent of military personnel still use tobacco, Pang said. Officials here said even a slight reduction in tobacco use will reduce lost time and expenses due to medical problems associated with tobacco use.

"Time and time again, tobacco has been cited as a health hazard," said Dr. Stephen Joseph, assistant defense secretary for health affairs. "Since the military depends on its men and women to be as healthy as possible, it is most appropriate that incentives for unhealthy behavior be eliminated or at least neutralized."

Pang said defense officials believe they will continue to improve personnel readiness by having a healthier force. "This has already been proven by the reduction in the incidence of tobacco use, which was at 51 percent in 1980," he said. "We will also benefit from healthier families and reduced medical costs."

(From a DoD News Release)

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