I have heard a lot of overreaching bills come out of the Golden Dome in the 20+ years that I have been doing this, but this one is one of my “favorites.” Do-gooder Sen. Joe Vitale has come up with a doozy. It makes you wonder where they come up with these ideas. Try this on for size: Banning tobacco and smoking products in pharmacies because pharmacies are supposed to be “health promoting.” Since when?

The local pharmacy is not just a pharmacy anymore. It’s a mini supermarket. They sell gifts, socks, books, food items, school supplies, cosmetics and even clothing. Not all of these items are pre-checked for safety or healthfulness. Give me a break. As far as I know, pharmacies sell whatever a consumer might want whether it’s “healthy“ or not, as long as it’s legal. And they should be allowed to.

Vitale’s bill would prohibit the sale of all tobacco products and electronic smoking devices at pharmacies. This comically ridiculous misguided bill, the brainchild of Senator Joe Vitale, who heads the Senate Health and Human Services and senior citizens committee and will now move to the full Senate for a vote.

According to a piece on NJsendems.com, Vitale said of bill s-1144 “Pharmacies have the important responsibility of making and dispensing medicine to patients in the community and providing them with health advice to help them get well.”

Um, pharmacies are a business. Businesses make money selling products. How can the government proscribe the selling of a legal and in demand product? Pharmacies sell all sorts of products that could potentially be harmful. Aspirin can kill babies. Ibuprofen, used improperly, can be harmful to your liver. Ice creams in the freezer section are a heart attack waiting to happen. How about sugary sodas, chips and candy? If we ban everything from pharmacies that could potentially be harmful then let’s not forget the Ginsu knife set sold in the “As Seen on TV” section that most pharmacies have. Those are some sharp knives, after all.

Lest we forget, pharmacies also sell opioids, the abuse of which is the leading cause of death in the country right now. They’re also legal with a doctors prescription. But should we look into banning the sale of those, too? Some big chain pharmacies made the decision on their own not to sell tobacco products and they have the right to do so. They are also big enough to withstand the loss of revenue.

But what about the small independent pharmacy owners? Shouldn’t they be allowed to sell anything they want to as long as it’s legal? This government overreach could further destroy any independent pharmacy’s hope of surviving. But what does Joe Vitale care? He just trying to keep you healthy.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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