(Reuters) - A Massachusetts town on Wednesday stubbed out a proposal that apparently would have made it the first in the United States to ban tobacco sales, a newspaper reported.

The proposal in Westminster, a town of about 7,300 people 60 miles (97 km) northwest of Boston, had generated strong opposition from store owners who contended the ban would cut into sales.

The Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise newspaper reported that the Westminister Board of Health voted 2-1 to turn down the proposal.

Board member Ed Simoncini moved to remove the regulation from consideration, and member Peter Munro seconded his motion, the newspaper said.

"The town is not in favor of the proposal, and therefore I am not in favor of the proposal," Simoncini said.

He and Munro voted in favor of killing the proposal, and Board Chair Andrea Crete voted against it, the Sentinel & Enterprise said.

Attempts to reach the board members were unsuccessful. Supporters had argued that the tobacco ban would protect public health.

Restrictions on smoking in specific settings have proliferated around the United States. But Westminster appeared to be the first to consider a town-wide ban on the sale of all tobacco products.


(Writing by Ian Simpson; Editing by Eric Walsh)