Government overreach

Men who smoke tobacco are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer as compared to those who do not, according to the American Lung Association. The numbers for female smokers are slightly less dire, as they have only a 13-fold chance of getting lung cancer as compared to women who do not smoke.

Even non-smokers are up to 30 times more likely to develop lung cancer if they are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work, the association states.

Of course, tobacco comes in forms that do not require smoking. The American Cancer Society states those who chew, dip, rub or snuff the drug are exposed to at least 30 chemicals believed to be carcinogenic. This significantly increases the user’s risk of mouth, tongue, cheek, gum, esophageal and pancreatic cancer – not to mention tooth loss.

Therefore, we encourage you to stop using tobacco now if it is at all possible for you to do so. Better yet, you would be much better off to never start using it in the first place.

However, something just seems wrong to us about the idea Nashua city officials have about raising the age one must be to purchase tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21. We are not alone.

“People can go fight for their country at 18; they can go and take loans out for hundreds of thousands of dollars for college; and they can’t go have a cigar. It makes no sense at all,” Eric Kilbane, owner of Castro’s Back Room cigar shop, told our reporter when asked about the city’s planned ordinance.

Nashua Alderman Ernest Jette introduced the legislation, which would increase the legal age to “purchase, use and possess tobacco products and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21.” An initial violation would result in a $50 fine, while subsequent instances would lead to fines of $100.

The ordinance, O-19-037, was directed to the Nashua Personnel and Administration Affairs Committee.

We have no doubt the intent of this ordinance is to promote public health. And as we have established, we believe using tobacco is a terrible idea.

In the spirit of “Live Free or Die,” however, we must question whether the government should be taking these steps. The ordinance, as written, makes not just the purchase of tobacco by those under age 21 illegal, but the mere possession of it.

Are Nashua leaders really going to direct police officers to search those under age 21 for possession of cigarettes or Skoal?

We hope we are not alone in finding this notion rather silly. We ask city leaders to thoroughly review this ordinance and consider the consequences of passing a law that makes it illegal for a 20-year-old adult to possess tobacco.