Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tobacco Ban is Pointless

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.


Anonymous said...

If the city can regulate who sells alcohol, why can't they regulate who sells tobacco? I dont see an issue here. The city is in its right, by law, to regulate such products.

I also like Councilor Caseys point that she is protecting the rights of the consumer to buy cigarettes. Will she take the same stand if the city passes an ordinance to regulate strip clubs? Will she vote against such an ordinance in order to protect the rights of the consumer to go to a strip club? Will see...

Anonymous said...

Not sure why this has become such a hot button issue. Alcohol is legal yet there are so many restrictions on the sale. Why not tobacco? The amount of tax dollars spent on the health ramifications of smokers are devastating to our Masshealth and Medicare system.

Anonymous said...

Time for everyone to move on, the Herald News is a whacked out piece of crap rag for staying on this day after day yet they will cover up the problems in the school system. Don't join them Lefty, how about a blog about this:

Read this:

Do we have to read the Boston papers like the Globe to get the real scoop? Why isn't the Herald News editorializing that Fall River is on thin ice and a year away from a state takeover if the system doesn't keep the ship in the right direction? Instead of saying that people are leaving Fall River or not coming to Fall River because of the crappy school system they say it's because a few stores can't sell tobacco anymore. Give me a break! Get your heads out of your asses Herald News!

Anonymous said...

I understand where these people are coming from. I am thankful that my daughter never picked up the habit, and many people do not.
However, this is interfering with free enterprise. I have a mom and pop store a few blocks away from my home who sells everything from baby food to aspirin, cough syrup, cold remedies, cigarettes, to beer, wine and hard liquor.
I was once in the Cumberland Farms way up South Main St. near Charles St. and they do the same. These are the places that these kids will get their smokes from, not these chains.
Walmart sells everything from food to clothes, shoes, home furnishings, sporting goods, to toys. They are not a "pharmacy". They just happen to have one within the store. Neither is S&S or Shaws a pharmacy. They are grocery chains that happen to have a pharmacy as well.
I think this ordinance is going to be bad for this city. Other businesses who even have an inclination of moving to this city will stop and think, what's next. Forget about Boston; we are not Boston. We do not, and will never have the business climate that they have, and that ordinance will not hurt them at all. We are a little craphole in Southeastern Mass. who should not be thinking about regulating something that is perfectly legal.

Anonymous said...

Booooring. New blog post please. These blogs used to be hotbeds of political stories and information now nothing, barely any interesting posts made at regular intervals. Isn't there an election year this year? I know the mayor's race looks boring so far but surely there are a lot of morons on the school committee and council we could be talking about replacing.

Anonymous said...

Not saying I agree with this proposed ban, but you should be able to argue against it without making the ridiculous analogy to candy.

Tobacco is the only product known to cause sickness and death even if it is used absolutely as directed and in moderation. Meanwhile, a normal person can eat candy every day for years as part of an otherwise balanced diet and no doctor would even be able to tell.

You've got a point, and I think you're smarter than that crappy argument.

Also: I think you dismiss the "sending a message" argument of supporters too easily, and under different circumstances would support it. For example, lets say we had children's book stores all across the city. The stores are owned by a chain and they decide they'd like to sell legal pornography. The pornography will only be sold to adults, and it will be kept out of the reach of children, but it will be behind the counter with the titles of the magazines visible. No actual nudity will be visible, but pictures of women would be visible. The only other thing these stores sell are children's books.

Would you so easily dismiss a concerned citizen who would voice the opinion that it sends the wrong message to allow these shop owners to include these magazines? Perhaps, in the end, you might decide to allow them to sell the porn, but isn't it worth considering, and treating seriously?

Lefty said...

I think the "children books" comparison is pretty far fetched. prescription medication/health products are NOT the only other products sold at these locations. Walmart is a department store that sells groceries! CVS & Walgreens are full fledged convenience stores.

My point about candy is basically cigarette smoking is on the decline, meanwhile obesity rates are through the roof. If we're going to demand pharmacies promote good health why draw the line on tobacco?

I still think this is a pointless ban that will have no effect and really sends no message.

You may think I'm not serious in my argument but I am. If we wanted to do something to move toward a healthier Fall River putting healthier choices in our school cafeterias and making junk food less accessible would be more beneficial than forcing smokers to drive 1/4 mile down the road to the convenience store they probably visit a few times a week anyway.