Plugged In: Hearing for proposed ban on tobacco sales halted due to ‘unruly’ crowd

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WESTMINSTER, Mass. (AP) — A public meeting on a central Massachusetts town’s proposed first-in-the-nation ban on tobacco and nicotine sales has ended early because officials say the crowd was getting too unruly to continue.

The three-member Westminster Board of Health, which proposed the ban, was escorted out by police Wednesday night. The board had asked the crowd to calm down to hear dozens signed up to speak.

Hundreds of people, many opposed to the ban, packed a school auditorium for the hearing. Some, carrying flags and protest signs, had taken part in a rally earlier.

The board says the ban would make it easier to keep tobacco and related products away from young people.

Many businesses oppose it, saying it won’t stop tobacco use, but only drive away customers.

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