Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 25, 2015

Military Cigarette Discounts Get Sen. Durbin’s Attention

Sen. Dick Durbin

Durbin. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate appropriators this week approved their version of a fiscal 2015 Defense spending bill. While the measure includes Pentagon health program spending, the bill also focuses lawmakers’ attention on specific health concerns for military personnel. The Defense Subcommittee chief, Illinois Democrat Richard J. Durbin, urged the Pentagon to implement a provision that would eliminate military commissary discounts on cigarettes, in a effort to reduce tobacco-related illnesses.

Separately, Tim Starks over at CQ Roll Call’s Five By Five national security blog notes commentary in the Senate committee report on the bill about concerns of unique illnesses, such as epilepsy and hydrocephalus, caused by traumatic brain injuries or environmental conditions in combat.


  • r. d.

    go do yr job and leave the military alone looser

    • Frankie

      Doesn’t this dunce have anything better to do with his precious time and our money? We pay him for these ideas?? Let’s just pray that our men and women in uniform live long enough to see the “negative” health benefits.

  • r. d.

    all the sudden yr concerned about troops cigs at discount? and health in the same breath. you are a fake

  • r. d.

    with what wages the military make you want the pentagon to raise the cost of cigs to commercial costs in the guise of health. yr a joke

  • xdir

    Raise the cost of cigarettes and then give all the soldiers a pay increase to cover the cost, the ones who don’t smoke will be rewarded and those who don’t will have an incentive to give up.

  • Bill Powell

    It’s an interesting phenomenon that every time a Democrat seeks to help us, it invariably, somehow involves their digging a little deeper into our pockets. Funny how that works out.

    • OPtaco McGee

      My thoughts exactly. Their solution is somehow always to charge us more money.

    • cruz_ctrl

      unlike Republicans who just start illegal billion-dollar wars…

      • Justin Grinstead

        It appears that Democrats now do the same thing.
        You think the war in Syria and Iraq against ISIS will be done for free? Or are we just selective in our outrage when its someone not in our own political party that is waging the war?

  • Fed Up

    I am going to go out on a limb and guess this pansy never put on a uniform.

  • Nick

    I personally loved the PX price of cigarettes. I didn’t smoke but still used my rations when I was stationed overseas in England in the early 80’s. You have to understand that almost everyone under 25 was unemployed there back then.

    Cigarettes were about 1 pound (about $2.35 at the time) a pack in the early 80’s in Britain. Currently I understand they are about 5 pounds (about $9 now) a pack.

    My roommate and I would go to a pub, open the cigarette pack, take a couple out, and then leave the pack on the table. The girls would come up and bum some cigarettes off us. We would buy them a drink, one thing led to another, and so on. The guys our age couldn’t afford to take them anywhere while we were employed and could get smokes and alcohol cheap. Yeah, we got into a few fights because of it, but it was worth it.

  • Honordads

    Don’t know what he’s talking about. PX/NEX raised cigs to full retail 2 years ago. Signs posted in the stores clearly say that.

  • Justin Grinstead

    I remember being able to get a pack of Marlboros at Camp Lejeune, NC for like $1.10 a pack in 1995.

  • Merrymeet

    about the only “discount” that is given to the military on cigarette sales is no sales tax, other then that I don’t know what discount this guy is talking about. Guess the military not paying their fair share of taxes is unacceptable?

  • Grin Olsson

    Why don’t our representatives begin to realize that our military men like to smoke cigarettes and maybe even some marijuana and leave them to hell alone. Does this representative know just exactly how many American military smokers defended America in World War 1, World War 2, Vietnam and the Middle East Sandbox to protect our “elitist” ruling class of Americans who believe they can micro-control every aspect of our lives by creating laws of submit, comply or be punished and die. Leave American military smokers alone and give them their discounts or volunteer to take their places on the firing lines and see what you may use to calm your nerves after a four hour fire fight for your life. And yes I’m a veteran and cigarette smoker.

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