Albany County: At it Again

Even though I’m running for Schenectady County Legislature, I find myself keeping an eye on the Albany County Legislature. They’re notorious for bringing intrusive legislation to Albany County. I also worry about their ideas creeping across county lines.

Their latest brilliant idea is a proposal that would ban the sale of tobacco products in Albany County pharmacies. The logic for this is pharmacies are supposed to be institutions focused on health. A pharmacy is no place for the evils of tobacco that threaten to destroy our society.

Never mind that many pharmacies are in grocery stores, or that they sell a whole boatload of items that aren’t terribly healthy.

Furthermore, I didn’t realize that people went to the pharmacy counter for their nicotine fix.

It gets better. Just read this definition of “pharmacy” from the proposed law:

“Pharmacy”, for the purposes of this Local Law shall mean any place in which drugs, prescriptions or poisons are possessed for the purpose of compounding, preserving, dispensing or retailing, or in which drugs, prescriptions or poisons are compounded, preserved, dispensed or retailed, or in which such drugs, prescriptions or poisons are by advertising or otherwise offered for sale at retail as defined by and pursuant to New York Education Law – §6802.

Gee, what did I do with that prescription for my asthma poison? With a definition like that, I think cigarettes sound like a downright healthy choice.

Seriously, it would be a terrible precedent. If county representatives don’t like a particular product, they can create excuses to ban its sale at particular locations. Then make the law’s definitions so broad that it could effectively ban the sale of that product anywhere in the county. Voila! Problem solved. Evil purged from the county!

The way I read it, any business selling over-the-counter medicine might also be subject to the ban on tobacco sales. Like so many local laws, it’s poorly written. I’m not certain, but couldn’t this law apply to local gas stations, convenience stores, and retail outlets without a pharmacy if they so much as have an aspirin for sale?

Now, I don’t smoke. I teach my children that smoking is bad. I don’t need a group of legislators to do that for me. I think I’ll stick to an old phrase that’s tried and true. I’ll “just say no” to cigarettes and to bad legislation.

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  1. anita

     /  May 28, 2011

    I agree with you 100%. Too much Government in this country as it is. Its our right to make our own decisions about smoking, and our rights a business owners to run our businesses as we see fit, not how NYS says we have to run them. Everyone already knows smoking is bad. We have all been educated. People are going to make the bad decision to smoke whether cigarettes are sold in pharmacies or not.


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