Setting up a business isn’t an easy task and there are many obstacles that can prevent your project becoming a success. Unreasonable legislation is in danger of doing just that to e-cigarette business owners in Westminster.
The Westminster Board of Health, in their wisdom, is taking steps to ban the sale of tobacco and tobacco products in the town. They have the ability to do this because Massachusetts General Law enables them to “make reasonable health regulations.” On November 12 they’ll be discussing the proposal which along with banning the sale of cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco would do the same to e-cigarettes. It’s like banning a group of super-villains and also doing the same to Superman.
Brian Vincent, of Vincent’s County Store, will be present at that meeting and is fully prepared to debate just whether their plans are a “reasonable” health regulation. He fears such a move would cripple his business.
A draft proposal of the regulation mentions the dangers of tobacco and nicotine. It also says that e-cigarettes can lead to cigarette smoking or increase cigarette smoking. So it appears these misguided views are about to cause damage to the sales of e-cigarettes in Westminster.
I wonder if when they hold their meeting they’ll mention the comments of Gregory Conley, the President of the American Vaping Association. Earlier this year the CDC put out a report that claimed e-cigarettes were a gateway to tobacco smoking (bet they mention that though). In response to that report, Conley said: “There is no evidence e-cigarettes are gateways to smoking, and in fact, for millions of Americans they are anti-tobacco protects.”
There are the usual worries about minors either smoking or vaping but again the legislators need to look at the actual evidence. Brian Vincent says that no Westminster business has a record of violating the age limit on tobacco product sales. E-cigarettes companies have an excellent record on not selling to those under-18 yet they still face action being taken against them.
If the new regulations are passed then Vincent sees a bleak future for traders in Westminster: "This isn't going to make people in town say, 'I can't buy cigarettes, so I'm going to quit,'" he said. "It's just going to drive business out of town."
It’s a crying shame that politicians and health officials have to behave in this way. That’s especially the case when they are basing their actions on inaccurate claims. They should let people make their own decisions and at the same time pay more attention to the truth.
Separate names with a comma.