Where There’s Smokers, There’s Dumb Laws

1220536791When Boston banned smoking in bars and clubs in 2003, I was delighted. I loathed having to hop in the shower to rinse the film of secondhand smoke and sweat out of my hair before going to bed.

But even as a somewhat holier-than-thou nonsmoker, I think the city’s latest move to further restrict access to tobacco is ridiculous.

The proposed rules would prohibit the sale of cigarettes on college campuses and in pharmacies (so you couldn’t pick up a pack of Marlboros at CVS). Smoking at restaurants with outdoor patios and seating would be banned, and after five years, Boston’s cigar bars and tobacco salons would be forced to close.

So, let’s get this straight. City health officials want to close businesses that are selling a legal product to prevent the staff that serves tobacco aficionados from inhaling second-hand smoke?

That insults the intelligence of the people who choose to work at one of the city’s few remaining cigar bars. We’re pretty sure it says on the application somewhere that they’ll be working for an establishment where people will be smoking. If a prospective employee doesn’t want to breathe that hazy air, perhaps he or she can get a job at one of the scads of nonsmoking establishments elsewhere in Boston.

And then there’s this argument against prohibiting the sale of tobacco at your neighborhood pharmacy.

“I just don’t see the government’s role in regulating the consistency of the mission of a store,” [BU School of Public Health tobacco control specialist Dr. Michael] Siegel said. “Just to extend this, should the public health mission also ban the sale of candy bars in pharmacies? If we’re going to get rid of cigarettes, why don’t we also get rid of soda? We know soda causes obesity.”

Don’t give them any ideas—it’s clear the city is in an overreaching mood. And if we can’t pick up a Hershey bar after a rough day, we’re going to be livid.