The “Live Free or Die” state has one less option for those looking to hasten the die part of that motto.
Hannaford supermarkets has announced they will be phasing out tobacco sales across their chain of grocery stores. This is sad news for Granite State smokers that want to pick up 20 cigarettes to go with their six beers, twelves eggs, ten hot dogs, and eight hot dog buns.
Folks will doubtlessly decry Hannaford for virtue signaling, phasing out tobacco while continuing sales of alcohol, fatty foods, and other potentially harmful items. They may have a point but it does not seem that Hannaford is attempting to police every aspect of human behavior, rather they are making a calculated business decision about what products to devote valuable retail space.
The reflexive response from many is that an adult’s choice to smoke is their own business and how dare Hannaford or anyone else tell them how to live. The current face mask debate is an interesting parallel with many declaring it their freedom not to wear a mask. Here it is a case of all parties being right. Just as you have the right to smoke or not wear a face mask, retail establishments have the right to stock whatever products they wish and to not serve unmasked customers if that is their choice.
The great thing about capitalism is that the market will decide whether these are the right decisions. Customers are free to shop at establishments with different product selections and different rules.
In the case of Hannaford and tobacco their customers will decide. We are confident that they will be just fine and a lot of New Hampshire lungs will breathe easier for the change.