SMOKED OUT: Haverstraw Village to Drop Anti-Tobacco Ordinance

Maureen Kenney, director of POW’R Against Tobacco, told the Rockland County Times that at 5 p.m. tonight, at a special board meeting, the Village of Haverstraw will rescind a first-of-its-kind ordinance that banned tobacco displays in convenience stores.

The anti-tobacco movement failed to come through with funds for legal defense of the law after seven tobacco companies filed a first amendment lawsuit. Lacking financial support, the village is dropping the ordinance because officials do not believe it is appropriate for taxpayers to shoulder the burden of such a legal case, that could go as high as the Supreme Court of the United States.

Maureen Kenney said, “We tried our hardest. We had offers of help from several organizations who could prepare legal briefings and arguments for the village to present and even some organizations who could offer some monetary support for filings and so on…but unfortunately not at the level needed to defend against seven tobacco giants. The tobacco industry came on very hard at the end to pressure the village to rescind quickly…so they are. It is a shame, but we have the utmost respect for the village for sticking their neck out there like they did.”

The ordinance had called for a ban on all public displays of tobacco products and displays of advertising or signage in convenience stores within the village, to be replaced by a tobacco menu available upon request.

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