Letter to the Editor: Let adults decide for themselves when it comes to nicotine

Dear Editor,

Newton’s City Council is considering “Nicotine Free Generation” legislation which would prohibit the sale of tobacco products to all individuals born after 1/1/2004, regardless of age.* For example, ten years from today a 30-year old would be prohibited from buying tobacco products in Newton.

I am not a tobacco user, nor a fan of tobacco companies, but am strongly opposed to governments telling legal-aged adults which legal products they may use for their own enjoyment. Many legal products can cause harm when used improperly or excessively (alcohol, gambling, and cannabis, among others) but we accept that adults are able to make personal decisions about the risks they wish to assume.

This issue is about liberty, not tobacco. Newton’s adults are, well, adults.  It is not inconsistent to disapprove of tobacco use while acknowledging that we do not need an overreaching government telling us what legal products or services we may or may not consume because the Councilors disapprove.

I encourage Newton residents to write their City Councilors to express opposition to this measure – on the basis of opposing arbitrary restrictions on individual choice, regardless of one’s views on tobacco use. There is no requirement for the Council to hold a public hearing, and they rely on input directly from their constituents via email and phone calls. This proposal could become a City Ordinance without any true public discussion, and although this isn’t an issue that directly affects me (I don’t smoke), that seems wrong to me.

You can find contact info for your councilors at: 638410208956500000 (newtonma.gov)

We elect City Councilors to run our city, not our lives.


Steve Snider

Newton Corner