Smokers between the ages of 18 and 20 will no longer be able to buy cigarettes in South Hadley after the town's Board of Health voted unanimously Wednesday to ban the sale of cigarettes to anyone under 21.
Convenient store owners are disappointed.
Sanjay Sharma says he may close up shop. While he's against smoking at any age, a large portion of his business comes from smokers.
“As a business owner, I think that we have a right to do business,” he said.
Sharma says he sells hundreds of packs of cigarettes a day and that his customers will now buy them in neighboring towns, along with their gas and snacks. 7-eleven representative Erik Eriksen explains.
“They are going to change their shopping habits to shop in other towns where they can buy their cigarettes so that when they turn 21 they are just going to keep shopping there so we are losing cigarette sales currently and add-on sales currently and future sales,” he said.
A resident at Wednesday's meeting says he doesn't have the luxury to travel to another town for cigarettes because he doesn't own a car. At just 20 years old, Josh Dziadek will have to find another way to smoke another year in South Hadley.
“Every person has the choice to choose whether they buy cigarettes or not,” he said. “I'm addicted to cigarettes. I choose every time to buy cigarettes. One day maybe I won't, but that's my decision, not anyone else's.”
The Board of Health says the ban includes any tobacco or nicotine product as well as e-cigarettes. They hope the ban reduces the number of young adults becoming addicted to smoking.
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