Proposed Flavored Tobacco Ban Restricts Consumers’ Freedom

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A flavored tobacco sales ban would be another way the government is chiseling away at our freedoms.

The Westchester County Board of Legislators is considering banning the sales of all flavored tobacco across the county. As Americans honored veterans across the U.S. recently for their service and recognized the sacrifices they and their families have made for our country, I’m struck by an effort by our local legislators to restrict some of the freedoms many Americans, and particularly veterans like me, have come to enjoy.

I served for a year in Korea on the DMZ, defending our country’s interests and allies. I put my life on the line and am proud of my service. I was 19, deemed old enough to serve my country and old enough to smoke. I did both. The government has now raised the legal age for people to smoke to 21 years old. You only have to be 18 to serve, but 21 to smoke. Fine. I agree with that. 

What I don’t agree with, and I think many feel the same way, is how the local government is chiseling away at our freedoms, little by little. I’m most struck by how they are now telling me where I need to go to buy an adult product I’ve been enjoying since I first started serving. The county wants to make it illegal for my favorite neighborhood store here in Yonkers to sell me menthol cigarettes. I will now have to travel outside the county.

As a 63-year-old man who has done a pretty good job of taking care of myself, I don’t believe I need my local legislators telling me I will no longer have the freedom to choose where I buy my tobacco. It’s just another way the government is getting in our business and restricting our freedoms.

I encourage them to rethink their plan to ban the sales of menthol tobacco in Westchester County.

Nathaniel Whitney

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