Reject original ordinance

After multiple proposed amendments to Nashua’s ordinance that would raise the legal age for nicotine from 18 to 21 failed during the lengthy Monday Personnel and Administrative Affairs Committee meeting, the ordinance was referred back to the Board of Aldermen in its original form.

The original form of Nashua’s O-19-037 specifically reads as follows:

“No person under the age of 21 shall: (1) Purchase a tobacco product, e-cigarette or liquid nicotine; (2) Use or possess a tobacco product, e-cigarette or liquid nicotine.”

Later, it states, “Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be subject to a fine of up to $50 for a first offense, and up to $100 for a second or subsequent offense.”

This means that a 20-year-old man or woman who lives in, say, Hudson, or Milford, or Amherst – or ANYWHERE, for that matter – would literally be committing a violation just by having a pack of cigarettes in their vehicle when they visit Nashua.

The last time we checked, Nashua was a “Welcoming City.” This does not seem like a very welcoming concept to us.

As we have written in this space on more than one occasion, we believe that using tobacco or other nicotine products is a horrible idea. Even if one avoids lung cancer or a heart attack, which smoking clearly increases one’s chances of having, the user can expect:

• Foul breath,

• Dirty teeth,

• Reproductive problems,

• Premature aging, and

• A host of other undesirable issues.

Still, we cannot support the notion of Nashua officials imposing fines of $50-$100 on young adults for simply possessing tobacco or other nicotine.

If the ordinance removed this provision, we would likely take a different position. Banning young adults from actually using, buying or selling these products in Nashua seems significantly more reasonable than does outlawing the mere possession of them.

The topic is expected to again come up for discussion during the next regular BOA meeting, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 229 Main St.