By Brad Matthews | WatchdogWire.com
The Board of Health for the Massachusetts town of Westminster was to take public comment Wednesday on a proposal to make the town the first municipality in the United States to ban the sale of all tobacco products within its borders.
This proposed ban would include smokeless tobacco, pipe tobacco, cigars, cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
“To my knowledge, it would be the first in the nation to enact a total ban. We commend them for doing it,” said Thomas Carr, director of national policy for the American Lung Association, according to an Associated Press report.
Town health agent Elizabeth Swedberg, speaking to the AP, said the ban was sensible.
“The tobacco companies are really promoting products to hook young people,” Swedberg told the AP, citing the sale of cheap bubblegum-flavored cigars, e-cigs and dissolvable smokeless tobacco similar to Tic-Tacs.
Local business owner Brian Vincent, on the other hand, said he makes 5 percent of his sales from tobacco, which a quarter of his consumers purchase. These sales often drive sales of other products.
“It’s going to send business five minutes this way or five minutes that way — no one’s going to quit,” he told the AP.