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News Summary

LTE: Policies, enforcement critical to protecting public health

Publication Date: 2011-06-04
  • Author:Stephen Shestakofsky
  • Publication:Boston Globe

THE GLOBE’S June 1 editorial on cigar bars, "Local power goes up in smoke," raises several points worth expanding upon.

Since 2004, the statewide smoke-free workplace law has been a resounding success, creating a healthier environment for thousands of employees and customers in the Commonwealth and reducing health care costs. The smoke-free workplace law also gave municipalities the right to go further in the effort to advance public health. This is exactly what the City of Boston did, as did the 45 municipalities that have already banned so-called smoking bars.

Breathing clean air and discouraging our youth from smoking should remain top priorities for local communities, and local regulations should not be circumvented by legislative maneuvers.

Many cigar bars operate within mixed-use buildings, with much of the carcinogenic secondhand smoke permeating the adjacent residential and commercial units. At a time when more Massachusetts youth smoke small flavored cigars and use smokeless products than smoke cigarettes, cigar bars glamorize smoking.

As the industry continues to find loopholes and products that appeal to children and new customers, public policies and enforcement remain critical to protecting public health. Although we disagree with the Globe’s contention that "Mayor Menino is carrying his public-health advocacy too far" in this case, we support the Globe's position that the governor veto any attempt to remove local control.

Stephen Shestakofsky
Executive director
Tobacco Free Mass

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