How To Reduce Smoking Without Banning Tobacco Sales

TIME

Last November, the Board of Health for Westminster, a town in central Massachusetts, proposed prohibiting all tobacco sales – even e-cigarettes – in the town.

Westminster’s three-person Board of Health said that the proposal was meant to protect the next generation from tobacco and nicotine products. The board expressed frustration at its inability to keep up with the seemingly endless barrage of new tobacco products that appealed to minors. Ending all tobacco sales seemed like a clean and quick fix.

But in the face of intense opposition, Westminster’s Board of Health voted to drop the proposal. While banning tobacco sales might have protected children, many felt the proposal infringed on the “rights” and “freedoms” of adults. Some also suggested that people would simply go to other towns to buy tobacco products.

In proposing to ban all tobacco sales at once, Westminster’s Board of Health got ahead of itself. But…

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