Thursday, June 25, 2015

Holyoke Raises Legal Tobacco Sale Age to 21


The Holyoke Board of Health Commission voted unanimously to accept the following amended regulations effective immediately at a regular meeting held June 11, 2015 at 5:00PM at the City Hall Annex: Smoking in Certain Public Places; Sale of Tobacco Products to Minors; and Sale and Use of E-Cigarettes. Changes to the regulations include raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products including electronic cigarettes and liquid nicotine products from eighteen (18) to twenty-one (21); removal of an exemption to allow parents and/or guardians to purchase tobacco for underage persons; and incorporate electronic cigarettes in the ban on smoking them in public places. Minor changes were made to reflect current state and local permitting fees and violations for retail tobacco permit holders.
 
The Board of Health determines the purpose of these regulations to be to reduce nicotine addiction, prevent reduced lung growth, lung function, and early cardiovascular damage for Holyoke’s youth. Holyoke pediatrician Dr. David Norton told commissioners “I am a long term member of the Mass Med Society Committee on Public Health and am very interested in seeing this initiative spread. The data on reducing teen smoking in the towns that started this are amazing-- teen smoking reduction by 50% in Needham and Arlington in two years - mainly because no one of high school age can buy cigarettes. This is of course the age when most smokers get addicted, so the long term impact would be powerful”. The local Tobacco Control Program was invited to present during their regularly scheduled meeting on May 21, 2015 on the implications of raising the minimum age of legal access (MLA) to tobacco products citing the Institute of Medicine pointing out the initiation age of tobacco use being critical stating 90% of smokers report their first use before reaching 19 years of age, and almost 100% before they reach 26.
For any additional information on tobacco control or the tobacco regulations in Holyoke, please call (413) 322-5595.

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