retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Associated Press reports that the "sleepy central Massachusetts town" of Westminster (population 7,700) is considering legislation "that could make Westminster the first municipality in the United States to ban sales of all tobacco products within town lines."

According to the story, "Town health agent Elizabeth Swedberg said a ban seemed like a sensible solution to a vexing problem. 'The tobacco companies are really promoting products to hook young people,' she said, pointing to 69-cent bubblegum-flavored cigars, electronic cigarettes and a new form of dissolvable smokeless tobacco that resembles Tic Tac candies. 'The board was getting frustrated trying to keep up with this'."

Local retailers oppose the legislation, saying that it would hurt overall sales by banning a legal product.
KC's View:
I'm torn on this one.

Tobacco is legal. And I feel for the retailers who say that it represents a significant percentage of their sales. (Though I'm a little surprised by how much. Five percent? Really? Where are they, Eastern Europe?)

But on the other hand, I am totally sympathetic to efforts to drive down tobacco sales and consumption as much as possible. (This falls within the parameters of my standard tobacco-executives-will-burn-in-their-own-special-circle-of-hell argument.)

This strikes me as different from the CVS decision not to sell tobacco, which had at least its PR roots in branding.

And in the end, I'm not sure prohibition works.