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Northampton Expands Smoking Ban

Smoking-No SmokingNORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) –For Navy veteran Tom Ouimet, smoking inside of the private club he belongs to soon be a memory.

Come this summer, he won’t be able to. “I think it’s deplorable that this is a free country, I joined the service to fight for our freedoms, and our freedoms of choice. Municipal government is making our decisions for us, and I think this is truly wrong,” he stated.

Northampton expanded its smoking ban, it now includes city parks and private clubs. Sales are getting adjusted too. Now everyone, regardless of age, will be carded.

Cigars can’t cost less than $2.50, to try and deter youth from buying them. “They’re marketed towards children. I mean, they’re gummy bear flavored. They’re cotton candy flavored. What adult is going to purchase a gummy bear flavored smoking product?” asked Merridith O’Leary, Northampton’s Public Health Director.

The American Legion is in a pretty unique position. Many of its members are smokers, while the general manager is not.

“Anytime you have an individual, or group of individuals, someone else gets their rights trampled, or they have to give them up.  Everybody knows this is a smoking environment, and we don’t pressure anybody against their will,” Bill Mazuch said.

Still, O’leary says that’s not their aim. Instead, they’re falling in line with state department regulations.  “The public health department, you know, we’re here to educate the people. We’re not about enforcement. We’re here about education, and what the risks are to second hand smoke,”

The ban takes effect June 1st.

Pharmacies are also not allowed to sell tobacco or nicotine products.

O’Leary says the Board of Health sent major retailers like Stop & Shop, Big Y, and Walgreens letters about the proposal. They still have not gotten a response.

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