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Sharon Health Board Narrowly Defeats Pharmacy Tobacco Ban

Vote was 3-2.

A one-vote margin has defeated a proposed ban on tobacco sales by Sharon pharmacies and other health care institutions.

The board of health recently voted 3-2 against implementing the ban in Sharon, which prohibits smoking in public places.

The ban would have affected two pharmacies: CVS, next to the ; and , in the Shaw's Plaza.

Questioning whether it was excessive, Chairman Suzi Peck and members Andrew Stead and Edward Welch voted against the measure, which Peck said several communities, including Boston and Needham, have implemented.

But Stead said Boston officials recently banned soda and sports drinks from city property.

"What's stopping somebody from coming in next month and saying, 'You know, a pharmacy sells dietary supplements and they also sell soda and they also sell snack food that has no nutritional value'?" Stead asked.

"So, somebody proposes that we ban pharmacies from selling soda and junk food."

Vice Chairman Jay Schwab and member Stanley Rosen supported the ban.

"It's ironic how this has turned out," Rosen said.

"Jay and I probably have 65 years or 70 years of health care between us."

Rosen said "tobacco is probably public enemy number one" among health concerns.

"None of the pharmacies in Brookline and Newton have closed since this went into effect two years ago," Rosen said.

Health Administrator Linda Rosen said the rationale behind the ban was that it's "incongruous for a health care facility to sell tobacco products."

Pharmacies are one-third of Sharon's six licensed tobacco vendors, she said.

BJ's Wholesale Club might become another one, she said. The chain plans a store at .

"If we pass this now, BJ's would not be able to sell tobacco," Schwab said. Stanley Rosen said the store could, if it lacked a pharmacy.

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