Brookline, Massachusetts - a town that has prided itself on being early to adopt tobacco and electronic cigarette restrictions, has voted to implement a relatively untested form of tobacco restriction called the Tobacco-Free Generation Law.
Unlike most tobacco laws, this is a relatively simple law to understand. If you were born before January 1, 2000, you can buy tobacco products. If you were born afterwards, you cannot buy any sort of tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, in Brookline. The idea is to make a generation of people, or anybody born in the 21st century, free from tobacco products.
The proponents of the idea argue that it is a slow version of prohibition that minimizes the economic impact that small shops will have to endure. The idea is that shops can still sell to their current customers, but will be unable to gain any younger, newer customers. Therefore, although the shops will close over time, they will be able to plan and will not be affected by sudden bankruptcies.
Of course, there are opposing arguments to the idea as well. Opponents argue that this kind of prohibition does not pay any attention as to why people are being pressured to take up smoking. Others argue that this kind of legislation is infantilizing for adults, who are legally allowed to buy tobacco elsewhere but not in town.
However, most important for the town itself, they would be sending out all their tobacco tax money to neighboring towns. Brookline is not a huge town - its total area is 6.8 square miles (17.8 square kilometers.) Unless more areas adopt the plan, most inhabitants can simply drive or even walk over to the next town to buy their tobacco and vapes.
Whether or not their legislation is successful will depend heavily on their neighboring towns, but it will definitely be an experiment.
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