The prohibitionist movement in different industries has taken many forms throughout the last 100 years. In 1922, the United States outlawed alcohol for consumption by the general public. 100 years later there is a new goal for the prohibitionist movement focused on tobacco products. This may seem farfetched, but this is exactly what is happening in New Zealand right now! Even more worrying is the proposed local ordinance in Brookline Massachusetts. A town of nearly 60,000 residents that is locked in step with New Zealand’s new push for the prohibition of tobacco sales to people born after a specific year.
The New Zealand plan, dubbed the Smoke Free 2025 Action Plan would bar any person born after 2013 from ever purchasing tobacco products. The plan would not be a total prohibition for any citizen born before that date, but the sale of tobacco products will become less and less viable as the population of citizens who are able to purchase begin to age themselves out of the markets. With that in mind, if passed, the policy would incrementally prohibit people from purchasing tobacco products.
Brookline Massachusetts has a plan of their own, dubbed the Tobacco Free Generation (TFG) concept; mostly mimicking the plan being proposed in New Zealand bars any person not currently of legal age to purchase tobacco products from doing so moving forward. This action will see the full prohibition of tobacco sales in the coming years causing small businesses to move out of the Brookline for more tobacco friendly localities and promoting consumers to look elsewhere.
Legislation and rules like the Tobacco Free Generation concept and Smoke Free 2025 are direct attacks on a person’s ability to purchase and consume a legal product. These policies will dismantle entire industries, from the farms and factories in Central and South America, to the support industries that ship and store tobacco products, to brick-and-mortar shops. The international aspect of these policies is poised to spread to other anti-tobacco centered nations, states, and localities which will inevitably affect product demand on a larger scale.
The Premium Cigar Association stands completely against sweeping prohibitions of tobacco products here in the US and anywhere in the world. These bad policies will affect our industry in a very real way in the upcoming decade and beyond. We stand with our international counterparts against these proposed prohibitions and will support policies working against them. The PCA staff are tracking similar legislation in other countries and localities in the US to ensure these anti-tobacco policies do not spread and the real causes of these erroneous plans are fully visible to policymakers and their constituencies that they represent.