Proposed Ban on All Tobacco Sales Divides MA Town

the MPR take:

A proposal that would make Westminster, MA the first town in the U.S. to ban sales of all tobacco products has been met with criticism from citizens. Over sixty residents voiced their opinions on the proposed ban in a public hearing and several hundred had participated in an earlier protest rally. The decision is in the hands of the Westminster Board of Health, who believe that a ban of all sales of tobacco products within the town limits is the best course of action against products like electronic cigarettes that are designed to appeal to young people. A local business owner whose store sells $100,000 worth of tobacco products each year stated that those looking to purchase tobacco products will go to other towns, buying other products like groceries and gas as well (and thus hurting even those stores that don’t sell tobacco products). Not everyone is against the ban, however; some see the ban as a step towards promoting a healthy lifestyle with this policy.

Only a handful of people were able to speak on a proposal that could make the tiny Massachusetts town of Westminster the first in the nation to ban all sales of tobacco products when boos and shouts from the crowd shut down the public hearing Wednesday night.