Westminster, Massachusetts will hear public comments this Wednesday concerning its local health department’s plans to seek a ban on the sale of all tobacco products within town limits. The town of 7,700 would be the first municipality to totally ban tobacco in the nation, and already there is opposition mounting to the move.
Local business owners are collecting hundreds of signatures in opposition to the proposed ban and are quick to point out how it would adversely affect Westminster economically. They also make the point that residents will simply go outside the town limits and buy the tobacco there and that no one is likely to quit smoking or chewing as a result.
A health board member, on the other hand, cites the many children who are hooked on tobacco every year and the tobacco industry’s tactics of selling bubble gum cigars and such things Bruce says attract young people to the smoking habit. Certainly, millions nationwide will die years earlier due to tobacco use, and many will end up with deadly lung cancer.
The banning of tobacco in itself makes all the sense in the world, but considering that no one wants to ban alcohol (which has much more devastating effects on society) and that many now wish to legalize marijuana, banning tobacco seems like an odd priority. I never have heard of a single car accident due to driving while smoking, and cigarettes are not the doorway to worse drugs that marijuana often is.