June 21st, 2011
Military underprices tobacco more than law allows
Smoking and chewing tobacco use in the armed forces is widespread. Yet many military bases break the rules and sell tobacco at big discounts.
A U.S. soldier smokes a cigarette in Afghanistan. Members of the armed forces are one-and-a-half times more likely to smoke than civilians. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Tess Vigeland: Brown tobacco leaves are costing the military a lot of green.
The Department of Defense spends over $1.5 billion a year of taxpayer money on tobacco related expenses. Members of the armed forces are 1.5 times more likely to smoke than civilians.
But an investigation by reporter Sally Herships shows the military regularly fails to comply with its own tobacco pricing restrictions. It sells millions of dollars of cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco at prices lower than the law allows.