Living free, dying earlier.

AuthorMcFarlane, Clive

Byline: Clive McFarlane

We humans pride ourselves as being the ones with the most reasoning skills of all the creatures on Earth. But what really separates us from the rest of Earth dwellers is not so much our superior reasoning ability, but what appears to be a genetic instinct to frequently scorn reason.

This is a serious discourse, so please do not confuse the aforementioned human proclivity with the conservative Republican faction that has adopted defiance of reason as a practicing philosophy.

I am taking about an individual allowing his desire to live with abandon getting the better of his instinct to survive. Young people acquiesce more so than adults to this instinct, which is why they get a lot more fun out of life and consequently, of course, get into a lot of trouble at times.

But adults have their day, too.

We witnessed an example of this recently in Westminster when some 500 people essentially threw a temper tantrum over a proposal by that town's Board of Health that would have made Westminster the first town in the country to ban the sale of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco.

The ensuing firestorm forced the board to withdraw the proposal. Andrea Crete, former chairman of the board and who remained unapologetic in her support of the ban, was bounced from office last month. She was defeated by a 356-38 vote margin by Michael Popik, one of the many residents who took umbrage at the proposed ban.

Yet it is perfectly understandable why Ms. Crete, a person with a background in public health, would be worried about young people in Westminster being exposed to tobacco.

Here is an overview of the health risks linked to tobacco, as listed on the pages of BeTobaccoFree.Gov.

"Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States. It causes many different cancers as well as chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis, heart disease, pregnancy-related problems, and many other serious health problems.''

Ms. Crete was perhaps also cognizant that in Westminster, where...

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