Beginning next month, it will become a little harder for teenagers to buy cigarettes in Belmont: A local health regulation taking effect Aug. 1 raises the age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 19.
“We’re basically trying to reduce youth access to tobacco products,” said Health Director Stefan Russakow. “One way of doing that is by raising the age to 19, because there’s still a significant number of kids that are 18 that are still in high school. By raising the age to 19, we’re taking that factor out of the equation.”
The Belmont Board of Health passed the regulation in April. The town joins a growing number of communities that have raised the age for purchasing tobacco products.
Needham led the charge in 2001, raising the age from 18 to 19. The town has since raised the age to 21, and the rate of high school smoking has dropped by about 50 percent, according to the director of the Health Department.
Brookline also recently raised the age from 18 to 19. Several other communities, said Russakow, are considering making the same move.
“I think it’s the beginning of a new groundswell,” said Russakow.
Evan Allen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org