Earlier this week, I wrote about the nanny-state government in the town of Westminster, MA, considering a town-wide ban on the sale of tobacco products. A meeting was planned for Wednesday night to hear public comment on the proposed ban.
So, how did the meeting go?
CBS news describes, “Only a handful of people were able to speak on a proposal that could make the tiny Massachusetts town of Westminster the first in the nation to ban all sales of tobacco products before boos and shouts from the crowd shut down the public hearing Wednesday night.”
According to the CBS report, 60 people were registered to share their opinions and “several hundred” held signs opposing the ban. The Boston Globe reported the audience at 500 people.
Twenty-five minutes into the meeting, the hearing was closed by Board of Health chairwoman Andrea Crete, “amid shouts of ‘America!’ and ‘Freedom Now.’ ”
WBZ’s Julie Loncich captured video of the crowd protesting at the meeting.
“The crowd’s getting out of control and the room’s filled to capacity,” Crete said. “We don’t want any riots.” Crete and two other board members were escorted out by the police. The crowd sang “God Bless America” as it was cleared out of the room.
Town residents were not pleased about the ban.
Joyce McGuire, a Westminster resident and nonsmoker who opposes the ban, also was disappointed the hearing ended early.
“I think people are really angry because they feel this is being shoved down their throats,” she said. And with the proposal drawing national media attention, she added, “I think we all feel really embarrassed. I don’t think this is the way our town is.”
“I find smoking to be one of the most disgusting habits anybody could possibly do. On top of that, I find this proposal to be even more of a disgusting thing,” resident Kevin West said during the session, according to CBS Boston.
Store owner Brian Vincent, who organized a petition drive, gathering more than 900 signatures, asked, “Having other adults decide what legal item we’re not allowed to consume just makes you wonder: If this passes, what could be next? Sugar? Bacon?”
The decision to ban tobacco rests with the Board of Health. Crete said the Board of Health will accept comments on the proposed ban until December 1. She did not provide a date when the official vote will take place.