State's finding on smoking ban ignites debate
It's the sort of groundbreaking development that the state's antismoking movement would be expected to greet with huge cheers.
Instead, it has landed with a thud in the middle of the public health community and created serious divisions and debates.
What has stirred the controversy is the conclusion - outlined in an internal memo at the Department of Public Health - that the agency can use the state's sanitary code to impose a statewide smoking ban in Massachusetts restaurants.
The decision has been kept under wraps, but sources in the tobacco control movement have confirmed that the conclusion of the department's legal team has been passed on to the governor's office.
The finding could be a major step toward the state's Public Health Council eventually implementing a cutting-edge antismoking initiative that would have far-reaching implications in the national tobacco control movement.