Gazelle has been complaining all week about the incessant sounds of fireworks. When he moved into New Bedford's West End last month, he didn't know he'd be trying to fall asleep as the rocket's red glare lit up outside his bedroom window.

Reports of a massive increase in fireworks are not contained to New Bedford. We've heard complaints from Fall River, Fairhaven, New Bedford and all over the SouthCoast. Each of the callers specifically mentioned that while they have heard fireworks in years prior, there have never been this many and never this early. We're still a solid three weeks away from the Fourth of July and much of the SouthCoast is already shell-shocked.

We wondered why and asked the audience this morning what they thought. That's when we got a call from Erica, who may have absolutely nailed the reason.

She blamed menthol cigarettes for the uptick in fireworks here on the SouthCoast. Erica says that since Massachusetts banned the sale of menthol cigarettes in the Commonwealth, more and more people on the SouthCoast have been taking a ride to Tiverton to buy them. While they are there, they are also buying fireworks, bringing them home, and setting them off at night.

It's a perfectly logical explanation. To take it a step further, Rhode Island has been ahead of Massachusetts when it comes to the re-opening of the economy, so it's not just menthol cigarette lovers that are driving there. People looking to go clothes shopping, eat outside, go to salon, etc. – all of these things were legal once again in Rhode Island weeks before they were here in Massachusetts.

Bottom line? There has been a lot of reasons for SouthCoast residents to drive to Rhode Island over the past month. That could be why you're hearing so many more fireworks.

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