WASHINGTON — The familiar image of a battle-hardened member of the military smoking a cigarette may become a little less common.
A Senate panel on Tuesday approved a defense spending bill that would eliminate the 25 percent discount that members of the armed services enjoy to purchase tobacco products at commissaries.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said studies show that tobacco use is higher in the military and that translates into health care costs of $1.6 billion a year. He said there is no reason to subsidize these deadly products.
The $549.3 billion defense bill for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 would do away with the discount.
The move is controversial. The House version of a defense policy bill would bar the Navy from restricting access to tobacco.