Residents of a Massachusetts community are outraged over a proposal that would ban the sale of all tobacco and comparable products. A ban like this would be the first of its kind in the United States.
The Board of Health of Westminster, Massachusetts, is proposing a ban on cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and e-cigarettes. Last week, a hearing on the proposal was cut short because tempers flared so high. Only four people spoke during the meeting, according to The Washington Post.
Board Chairwoman Andrea Crete spoke in favor of the proposal: “If we can prevent children from having access and exposure to tobacco and nicotine products and reduce the chances of them smoking or using them, then we’ve essentially saved lives.” According to The American Lung Association, this ban would be the first of its kind, says WCVB. The Board will accept written testimony until December 1 before ultimately taking up the issue for a vote.
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Wayne Walker, a town selectman, said his entire government body voted to oppose the ban, according to The New York Times. “I detest smoking and tobacco in all its forms,” he said to the Board of Health, but a “unilateral and radical approach” like banning all legal tobacco products would “create a significant economic hardship.”
One store in the town started a petition that has amassed over 1,200 signatures stating they oppose the ban, according to The Blaze. The town itself has about 7,400 residents.
Resident Kevin West echoed what Walker stated, proclaiming smoking is “one of the most disgusting habits anybody could possibly do. [But] I find this proposal to be even more of a disgusting thing.”
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Resident Nate Johnson also opposed the ban, telling The Times, “They’re just taking away everyday freedoms, little by little…This isn’t about tobacco, it’s about control.”
h/t The Blaze
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