Arlington New Tobacco Regulations Update…
Town Holds Off on New Tobacco Regulations Vote
The Board of Health will take up the regulations again next month.
April 4, 2013
By John Waller
The Arlington Board of Health decided not to vote on new tobacco regulations Wednesday night that, among other steps, would have raised the minimum age to buy cigarettes in town from 18 to 21 over the next two years.
“I don’t know if I’m ready to adopt (the regulations),” board chairman Michael Fitzpatrick said at the meeting. “I’d like to take the public comments under advisement – make sure we’re happy with it before we OK it.”
The three-member board, which also includes Dr. Marie Walsh Condon and Kenneth Kohlberg, said they plan to vote on the regulations at their next meeting on Wednesday, May 15.
About a dozen local business owners attended the meeting at the Arlington Senior Center.
Only a few of them spoke, but the owner of Dagg’s in East Arlington said he believed the rise in age would send some of his customers to Cambridge.
“My point of view is that if I’m 18, I’m an adult,” he told the board. “I can decide what I want to do.”
In addition to the proposed age change, which would apply to all tobacco products, the regulations would prohibit the sale of tobacco and nicotine-delivery products in all retail locations that have a pharmacy or drug store, cap the number of tobacco sales permits at the current number (and reduce that number through attrition over time) and ban the sale of “blunt wraps” outright, among other items, such as single cigars under $2.50.
Last May, Belmont joined Needham and Brookline in raising the age.
Fifty-six cities and towns in Massachusetts have prohibited the sale of tobacco and nicotine-delivery products at pharmacies and drug stores.
The board also briefly discussed adding language to the regulations that would prohibit minors from buying cigarette lighters and matches. However, Fitzpatrick seemed reluctant to do so.
The regulations do not need Town Meeting’s approval, as the town’s health regulations are separate from the town bylaws.