Tonight the City Council with have the opportunity to ratify and ordinance that would prohibit pharmacies from selling tobacco. The Bold Coalition, which supports the ordinance, believes passing would send the right message.
While it's a good thing to see citizens, particularly young adults participating in local government, and while I personally detest tobacco products, it is just wrong to place a ban which to me seems harassing and discriminatory. I support banning smoking in public places because it's a ban that protects people from having to breath in second hand smoke. Banning the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies doesn't protect anyone. Nobody is even claiming that it will stop people from using such products. Everybody agrees people will just go somewhere else to make their purchase. So what's the point? Oh, it sends the right message. But just what message is that? The people who support this want you to believe that there is some horrible conflict having a pharmacy (which is supposed to promote good health) with tobacco products (which are not good for your health). First off most pharmacies are more 'mini-mart' than drug store and I would argue profit is what they're trying to promote. Secondly if pharmacies should promote good health, well why stop at tobacco? Where's the ban on candy? Diabetes is one of the top 10 causes for death in the U.S. Obesity in general is a HUGE (no pun intended) issue this country. Why not get rid potato chips, salted nuts, beef jerky and other "non-healthy" snacks. Why not go after diet sodas that we're told are not very good for us. In fact what about those artificial sweeteners that seem to live under cloud of health concern. Maybe all those products should be banned too! When you look at the rates of childhood obesity in this country it would probably make a LOT more sense to ban candy and chips and leave the cigarettes alone. After all when is the last time you saw a parent buy their 6 year old a pack on Winston?
The ban just doesn't make sense. The message it sends is it's OK to harass a segment of the population because they use a product you don't like. It won't make smokers quit and it doesn't protect the health and safety of the people of Fall River. If you want to make the city a healthier place for our children you'd be better off striking pizza off of the school cafeteria menu.
You have to ask yourself is this ban just and is it fair? I don't think it is. And after reading the submitted post on Fall River Blog, I'm not even sure it's the decision of the City Council. But if we really want to see pharmacies stop selling tobacco products we would better off petitioning them to do so voluntarily and not have government overstep its bounds.