At the beginning of the week Westminster Board of Health organized public hearings on the proposal to prohibit sale of tobacco products in the town. There came 70 people to express their opinion on the subject. It turned out the the majority of them is against the ban. Selectmen cannot participate in voting for the proposal but they attentively listened to all opinions. The Board of Health should take them into consideration.
Resident Gary Richard says that selectmen cannot take final decisions but may express their attitude towards particular subject. He says that the majority of people including governor Charlie Baker consider that the idea to ban sale of all kinds of tobacco is crazy. They want to influence the Board of Health to reject this idea. Among those who were speaking, there were former smokers and non-smokers.
Vietnam veteran Bruce Siebert started smoking when he was soldier and the government supplied army with cigarettes. Since then he managed to quit but it was his personal choice. He considers that the proposal goes too far and people must do their choices by themselves.
Resident Jennifer Shenk said she was raised in a family of smokers and saw how one of them suffered from a smoking related disease. However, she opposes the ban because here goverment goes too far.
David McKeehan, who is head of the North Central Chamber of Commerce, is worried that ban of sale of tobacco products will have a negative impact on businesses.
Steve Ryan of the New England Convenience Store Association also opposes the ban and created a petition against it whicg gathered 1000 signatures.
Paul Caron represents New England Association of Retail Distributors and says that business will be affected greatly, because when people come to buy cigarettes in shops they also buy other things.
Public comments will last till December 1 and everyone is welcome to express his opinion. Today many towns in Massachusetts fight with smoking in public places.