New health rules went into effect today in Boston that prohibit the sale of tobacco products at pharmacies and drug stores, and on college and university campuses.
City officials say the ban on tobacco sales is meant to keep a harmful substance away from young people and protect workers from secondhand smoke. Barbara Ferrer of the Boston Public Health Commission says counseling and nicotine patches will be available to people who want to quit smoking.
"This isn't really an anti-smoker campaign," Ferrer says. "This is: let's not sell a dangerous product, and if you're using that product let's help you break an addictive habit."
Ferrer also says drug stores and college campuses are being targeted because they shouldn't be allowed to sell products that make people sick.
"We're not prohibiting the sale of tobacco products in the city," Ferrer says. "We're not prohibiting anybody from smoking cigarettes. We're saying if you work you should be entitled to work in a safe environment and not be exposed to secondhand smoke, which is a known carcinogen."
Ferrer says city officials will be inspecting educational and healthcare institutions in the next few weeks to make sure they've removed tobacco from their shelves. Cigarettes and other tobacco products can still be sold in Boston at places such as off-campus mini-marts and gas stations.