I’ve long contended that the most obnoxious and indefensible manifestation of Massachusetts’ nanny state tendencies came from municipal boards of health. Most people think of the board of health as the branch of government responsible for restaurant inspections and septic system enforcement – if they think of them at all. Board of health members – some of them, at least – think they are in charge of policing citizens’ lifestyle choices and the decisions of local businesses.
Hence, the Ashland Board of Health has decided to replace the state Legislature. Tuesday, they voted to raise the age to purchase cigarettes from 18 to 21.
There may be good reasons for raising the age. But that decision should be made by officials elected by a broad swath of the citizenry and charged with legislating. The Ashland Board of Health is elected by a tiny percentage of the citizenry. Their charge is to enforce reasonable regulations, not determine the limits of individual freedom.