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Arlington eyes raising minimum age to buy cigarettes

Posted by Brock Parker  March 18, 2013 11:34 AM

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Health officials in Arlington are looking to drastically overhaul tobacco sale regulations in the town, including raising the minimum purchasing age to 21 and prohibiting drug stores from selling cigarettes.

The Board of Health is proposing to raise the minimum age to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 years old to 19 years old beginning July 1. The minimum age would continue to increase in phases until July of 2015, when the minimum age to purchase tobacco products in the town would be raised to 21, under the proposal.

The changes are being considered in an effort to tackle smoking at Arlington High School, where about 12 percent of students report regularly using tobacco products, said
Christine Connolly, Arlington’s director of health and human services.

“We would like to see the rates of tobacco use at the high school decrease,” Connolly said.

Brookline and Belmont have recently approved similar age increases, and Needham was the first town in the state to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products in 2003.

Arlington’s Board of Health will hold a public hearing on the proposal at 5:30 p.m. on April 3 on the first floor of senior center building at 27 Maple St., and the board will probably vote that night, Connolly said.

The Board of Health will also be voting on proposals to forbid the sale of “blunt wraps” and the sale of out-of-package cigarettes. The town is also looking to ban all commercial roll-your-own cigarette machines and prohibit the sale of tobacco products at any healthcare institutions, such as pharmacies and drug stores.

At the same hearing on April 3, the Board of Health will also be discussing new requirements for obtaining a permit to operate businesses that offer bodywork, such as acupressure, Japanese shiatsu and traditional Thai massage.

--brock.globe@gmail.com

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