After Public Hearing, Keene Councilors Vote 3-1 For Nicotine Prohibition for Under 21s

Photo of the audience at the start of the meeting.

Photo of the audience at the start of the meeting.

Last night a committee of four Keene city councilors met to hear from the people on an awful proposal by a group of busybodies to prohibit the sale and possession of nicotine-related products by people under the age of 21 in Keene.

At least, that’s the summary of the proposal the city clerk had prepared for the council and was plastered at the top of the comment cards available in the room. But wait, was that actually their proposal?

Kate McNally, program manager for “Cheshire Coalition for Tobacco Free Communities”, despite being the person who started this awful political process spoke first and explained that her group was NOT asking the city to prohibit the use of nicotine, just the sale. She seems to realize that criminalizing possession would allow police to target young people for harassment and spoke against that clearly. In a perfect example of how you don’t control the government once you set it in motion, the majority of the committee voted 3-1 to ask city staff to write up an ordinance that would prohibit both sale AND possession of nicotine by people under 21 in Keene. That includes tobacco and all vaporizing products like vape pens and nicotine juice.

Congrats, Ms. McNally – you started this hoping to control just the merchants and you got more than you bargained for. The ban hammer is going to swing much farther and harder than even you wanted.

The council members ignored the pleas of various people including downtown merchants, industry associations, and individuals. No amount of logic and persuasion worked. The history and continued failure of prohibition meant nothing to them. It didn’t matter that the lady from Keene Middle School admitted the failure of nicotine prohibition on their campus. Despite the fact that it’s ALREADY illegal for them to buy and possess, even middle schoolers are using nicotine.

Here’s the full hearing including all testimony minus a quick battery change:

Though the owner of Monadnock Vapor, Daniel Cavallero, pointed out they’d just be creating a black market, the councilors still believe in the failed, authoritarian, sick dream of prohibition and voted to move ahead with drafting the ordinance. Next, the full city council will vote on the committee’s recommendation at next week’s Thursday meeting. Presuming that happens, city staff will draft a prohibition ordinance which will then receive a public hearing in front of the same committee.

Only one councilor, Bob Sutherland, heroically voted against the proposal. He also asked some good questions of McNally toward the end of the hearing. Sadly, he’s the only councilor on the committee who has his sanity.

Live free or die, unless you’re in Keene. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on this madness.

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  1. Ian, you really don’t have a clue do you. It has been proven medically that smoking is one of the most dangerous events you can do to your body as well as to your neighbors, families, and bystanders. Smoking is being fazed out with tighter restrictions. To actually believe someone under 21 has the right to purchase cigarettes is ludicrous at best.
    If you were to spread out the total area of your lungs, it would cover a tennis court.

    Teenagers lungs continue to grow with your body until the teen years. When you smoke, you are painting that total area with tar and other carcinogens. Smokers cause over 500 billion dollars is damage to the globes economies. It cost millions to tax payers each year because we pick up the tab for those who have smoked and now have end stage COPD and it affects your kidney functions as well. Teenager smoking adds to this because early smoking leads to smoking related diseases earlier in life. If you were to quit smoking, it takes 15 years to fix the damage that was done to your lungs. Why should teens be exposed to this?

    Your article is farcical at best. You have absolutely no idea as to what you are talking about. You again are advocating inappropriate behaviors towards teens.

  2. I forgot to add, every time someone lights up, everyone’s a victim.

  3. My goodness, Jacks! Now that was quite a sermon you gave us! And you preached it with such enthusiasm and self-righteousness! But you do understand that this law is targeting ALL nicotine products – including the safe ones – and not just tobacco products, now don’t you?

    Say Jacks, here’s a question! If cigarettes are as dangerous a thing as you seem to believe them to be, then why do you think 21 is the best age to be allowed to smoke them? Why not just make it never and be done with it, pookums? That’s how our dear leaders saved the heathens from demon rum, now isn’t it?

  4. Oh, and Jacks? Not even a week ago you were erroneously asserting that teenagers using protein and creatine supplements can expect to have heart attacks later in life. Then you posted an article about steroid use to prove your assertion. Boy, that was stupid, wasn’t it?

    Do you know why, pookums?

    It’s because steroids and nutritional supplements aren’t the same things. Not by a long shot. And neither are cigarettes and nicotine vape juice for that matter. You get confused about these sorts of simple details a lot, now don’t you dear? Didn’t you say a while back that you have some sort of health care training? That wasn’t a lie, now was it my love?

  5. Jacks: You can’t win. Your socialist view of the world created the problem of taxes paying for others stupid decisions. If you didn’t do that you wouldn’t need to control what teenagers do. Don’t you see jacks- freedom is the superior moral high ground. Let people be free and they will pay through dollars or death for there misdeeds. There is no need to utilize violence to stop kids from smoking or pay for health care. No- these are things people who care about such things can do for themselves if only you would let them- just stop stealing from them.

  6. Drac, I really don’t respond to you because your rants and raves are insulting and full of BS and uneducated rants. There is no such thing as “safe nicotine” Nicotine does harmful things to the human body. You don’t have an argument for “positives” of nicotine. So stop being stupid. You know the facts about nicotine and smoking. You would have to be living under a rock not to know it’s harmful nature. I now go back to not responding to your rants, childish raves, and basically stupid statements.

  7. Hmmm, 63 Emerald St hmmm? Hmmm no.

  8. Uh oh, Jacks! I hope you’ve prepared yourself, because I’m about to argue the positives of nicotine! It’s actually VERY safe, you know! Even the busybodies at the FDA think so! That’s why it’s been used for years in nicotine replacement products – you know, all of those marvelous things smokers can buy when they need a little help to quit smoking?

    And nicotine has other positive uses as well, Jacks my love. Mostly because of its properties as a CNS stimulant. You’ve heard of stimulants, haven’t you pookums? Caffeine’s a very common one. And there’s also good ol’ theobromine and theophylline as well! Did you know that the products that contain these wonderful things are all very popular? The people who use them certainly find that they contribute very positive things to their lives.

    Isn’t that exciting, Jacks? It is to me. Do you want to know why? It’s not very complicated, sweetie. I promise.

    You see Jacks, just like caffeine, nicotine provides a boost to a person’s performance capabilities. Important things like motor skills, alertness, and memory are all enhanced. In short, caffeine and nicotine makes people BETTER at doing the things they’re doing! That’s why people drink coffee, pookums. And that’s why they smoke cigarettes and use vape pens as well. Scary, huh?

    Well it shouldn’t be, should it Jacks? But then again, you’re the sort of sillypants who just can’t suppress his natural urge to oblige his personal preferences onto those of his neighbors. Never mind that most people would prefer to just be left alone, right Jacks?

  9. Oh, and Jacks? You have no idea how incredibly useful these wonderfully ill-considered comments of yours have been to us. Keep them coming, sweetie pie. People need to know just how bad you sorts can be once you’ve have your hands on political power.

  10. Kate Mcnally is a radio person too mr radioman:shes on npr

  11. There’s no public health argument to ban e-cigarettes

    Nicotine alone does not cause cancer & is a mild stimulant similar to caffiene

    Should we ban under 21s from drinking coffee?

  12. Ian is principled libertarian, a voluntarist, and that is why those who would utilize violence against others fear the words that come out of his mouth. He would take away the control and power and use of violence against peaceful people he likes. He would even do it for “bad” peaceful people. To protect the good you must protect all people. He gets that. Whether it is pedophiles or smokers it makes no difference. If there is no violence there is no crime. Government is violence and outside of self defense all violence is morally wrong. So government is the morally bankrupt party most of the time.

  13. I don’t know if you’ve heard the news, KK, but Jacks doesn’t believe that there is any such thing as a victimless crime. Isn’t that hilarious? And do you know what’s even more absurd? Jacks believes the nonexistent victim in these cases is actually… Brace yourself! …the GOVERNMENT! Isn’t that absolute lunacy, KK? It’s almost impossible to believe this guy is a grown man, isn’t it?

  14. ZX81 Nicotine is dangerous. It has properties that will raise your heart rate, cause atherosclerosis, is linked to heart attacks and strokes not to mention kidney disease. Nicotine is not similar to caffeine and never has been. There have been recorded deaths with people who have taken too much nicotine and the same for caffeine. To actually think e-cigarettes are safe is ignorant. They are not safe.

  15. Jumping Jacks: It is irreverent whether or not nicotine is dangerous and I’m not arguing either way on that subject. The point here is that the state is targeting people who have not harmed anybody other than maybe themselves.

    Jumping Jacks: It doesn’t matter if nicotine is similar to caffeine or not. Both are drugs and we can pass laws on both as things stand to arbitrarily imprison people who have harmed nobody else. Someone could just as easily argue to ban coffee as ban nicotine because both are addictive. Your addiction may differ from anothers, but both are addictions. Denying it is harmful is just further evidence you have a problem. At least this is the attitude of those basically arguing in favor of banning smoking for those 18-21.

    “To actually think e-cigarettes are safe is ignorant. ”

    Man- you have a serious comprehension problem. Nobody has said e-cigarettes are safe. You are the one who is ignorant and can’t comprehend that just because something is dangerous is not sufficient moral justification to outlaw it. Driving has risks, smoking has risks, skydiving has risks, skiing has risks, life has risks. Which risks you choose to take which primarily only impact you are nobody elses business.

  16. KK – smoking harms everyone. it is not in the same category as caffeine or any other stimulants. Every time someone smokes, it affects the health of those around the smoker, The tax payers pick up the tabs of those who smoke through higher health insurance premiums, and through SSDI programs,


    You can look that up. Comparing nicotine and smoking to sky diving etc.. Is absolutely ridiculous I can’t even argue it because it is so far out in fantasy land.

    Look up what harm smoking has done to others. That will default your statements.

  17. I don’t mean to cast any shadows on all of these delightful little sermons you keep posting here, Jacks my love, but you keep forgetting to mention the other great killer of innocent people. They’re called GOVERNMENTS Jacks, and our dear old friends on the left side of the political spectrum certainly are the best at organizing such horrible things, aren’t they? Yet you’ve never even once considered humbling yourself and apologizing for their crimes, now have you sweetheart? Isn’t that absolutely disgraceful?

  18. Oh, and Jacks? I’m really surprised that you’re so completely incapable of understanding how caffeine and nicotine can be considered to be so similar to each other. After all:

    1. Both substances are naturally-occurring alkaloids found in plants.
    2. Both act as CNS stimulants when consumed.
    3. And both enhance dopamine signalling in the brain.

    They look pretty similar now, don’t you think? Uh oh! You don’t suppose this prejudice you have towards tobacco use just might be interfering with your ability to see reason here, now do you Jacks? Boy, that would be embarrassing, now wouldn’t it?

  19. The council seems to start with the premise, that it is their responsibility to control personal choices and business?
    Is it merely the petitioner’s arguments or do they always start that way?

Care to comment?