• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Butt out, please

The Board of Health in the Massachusetts town of Westminster is considering making the town the first in the nation to ban all sales of all tobacco products. A public hearing on the proposal drew a noisy crowd of opponents, and it wasn't just smokers who thought the idea was downright stupid.

Joyce McGuire, a Westminster resident and nonsmoker who opposes the ban, also was disappointed the hearing ended early.

“I think people are really angry because they feel this is being shoved down their throats,” she said. And with the proposal drawing national media attention, she added, “I think we all feel really embarrassed. I don’t think this is the way our town is.”

Another said, “I find smoking to be one of the most disgusting habits anybody could possibly do. On top of that, I find this proposal to be even more of a disgusting thing,” resident Kevin West said during the session, according to CBS Boston.

The ban wouldn't change anybody's smoking habits. Smokers could just drive a few minutes and buy their cigarettes, so the only people really punished would be Westminster merchants who sell tobacco products.

Kinda adds some perspective to the ongoing battles here over too-complicated-to-even-explain alcohol regulations. The rules might have been imposed for religious reasons, but now the struggle really boils down to various sets of retailers fighting over market share. None of it really matters to consumers, except when it interferes with their desire to have lots of options for where they can buy a perfectly legal product.