New efforts to enforce a prohibition on the tobacco products sale took a favorable hit recently when a federal judge struck down a Worcester law banning storefront signs that promotes the availability of the famous smoking brands. Nobody questions the bad effects of tobacco use, which are noisily annonced everywhere on TV, and even to the cigarettes packs. But it remains a legal habit, and some inhabitants still choose to smoke their favorite brand despite of knowing that it can hurt their health.
A new effort to prohibit it outdoor, as happened with alcohol in the early part of the last century, would likely have the same bad results and make the current extensive illegal drug sales.
So, some have chosen to get around an actual ban by making it as difficult as possible to sell or consume tobacco.
Down in North Andover, for example, the local board of health is considering a policy — already in effect in some two dozen Bay State communities — that would ban local pharmacies from selling smoking products on their shelves. Should such laws become commonplace, look for chocolate bars and other kinds of sweets to become the next target for the self-appointed lifestyle police.
But U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock of Ipswich said that Worcester’s advertising legislation went too far. So, he observed a violation of the First Amendment.
“The broad sweep of the Ordinance suggests that the defendants did not consider how to tailor the restrictions so as not unduly to burden the plaintiffs’ free speech rights and the rights of adults to truthful information about smoking products,” Woodlock wrote in his decision.
The city has not yet made a decision whether it will appeal, but we would hope a higher court does not find that the effort to discourage cigarettes sales cut Americans’ rights.