Cigarette ban a good step

The DeKalb City Council took the first step toward fighting the specter of adolescent tobacco addiction by limiting accessability of vending machine sale of cigarettes in the city.

While it might inconvenience smokers (although far less than current public non-smoking codes) the proposed ordinance that is being drafted will help to uphold the law and improve the health of DeKalb’s young people.

The state of Illinois, like most other states, bans the sale of tobacco products to minors. While it is acknowledged that this restriction is often ignored, municipalities should nevertheless try to restrict cigarette sales to minors as much as possible, especially because of the well-documented dangers cigarettes pose.

While human retail workers may sometimes not discriminate between adults and minors when selling cigarettes, vending machines never do. And because they are hard to steal from, vending machines are often placed away from store workers’ direct observation, making access to them easy for minors.

Just because a machine is involved in a sale does not excuse the fact that human supervision is needed. The easiest and most direct way is to ban them.

Council members also were wise to except vending machines in bars. Minors don’t belong there for any reason, so there is no reason to inconvenience adults there.

Besides, a bar is one of the few places public smoking is still permitted. A total ban would have been very inappropriate.

Smoking is one of America’s worst health problems. It is good to see DeKalb trying to curb its effects on our most vulnerable citizens.