Tobacco products on base are about to get more expensive.
Language in both the sweeping budget resolution and annual defense authorization bill pending before lawmakers this week would drop the 5 percent discount offered to customers on tobacco products at military exchanges.
Lawmakers had targeted the cheaper cigarettes and chew earlier this year, saying the discounted products undermine larger military efforts to discourage smoking among troops because of the long-term health concerns.
Current Defense Department rules allow military exchanges and commissaries to sell tobacco products at a price as low as 5 percent below "local community" prices. But those averages can vary wildly, allowing some troops to buy tobacco at discounts of 20 percent or more.
The new measures would "prohibit the sale of a product at a price below the most competitive price for that product in the local community," effectively dumping that discount.
For some troops, it will mean a price jump of $1 per pack of cigarettes in January.
Defense officials are conducting a force-wide review of tobacco policies, with a final report expected in coming days. Past Pentagon estimates have stated that tobacco-related illnesses drain $1.6 billion annually from military health care accounts.
About 25 percent of troops smoke cigarettes, compared to about 20 percent of civilians. Roughly 13 percent use smokeless tobacco products, compared to 3 percent of civilians.
Navy officials have discussed eliminating tobacco sales on base, in an effort to further discourage the practice.
House lawmakers balked at that idea in the spring, and included language mandating that sales of tobacco and other "legal" products continue at military exchanges. But that provision was stripped from the final defense authorization bill.
Both the budget resolution and authorization bill are expected to be finalized this week, Congress' last week of legislative business before the end of the year.