In October, the village of Haverstraw, N.Y., is slated to become the first and only municipality in the U.S. to restrict the use of tobacco displays in retail shops. The new law, adopted April 16, will regulate the use of the tobacco marketing technique known as the "power wall": the massive display of tobacco products located behind the counter at many convenience stores, gas stations and other retail locations. These power walls are designed to attract new users (who are primarily youths) and prompt impulse purchases.
Well, the village is being sued by the big tobacco companies.
The village, which has about 12,000 residents, does not have the funds these major corporations have, and will not be able to pay to fight for what they believe is a proactive move for the health of their citizens. This comes down to health versus corporate profits.
Keep in mind, there will still be tobacco sales and this law is only about restricting the advertising set up in stores. Why, if a company will still have their product sold (just without all the glitz and glam) do they feel the need to sue this municipality? What purpose will this serve, other than to justify their stronghold on keeping people using? Shouldn't they have a right to do what they feel will make their municipality a better place to live?
I hope Haverstraw can find a champion for this fight.
Youth services director of Catholic Charities of Fulton and Montgomery Counties