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Scituate could make big changes to tobacco regulations

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  January 28, 2014 11:07 AM

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Scituate residents may have a harder time buying cigarettes in their hometown, as several changes to cigarette sale regulations are being considered.

The Board of Health is reviewing changes and is expected to discuss them again at its meeting on Feb. 10, but the proposals under consideration cover everything from e-cigarette sales to the sale of tobacco products to overall prices.

“A lot of the communities we were shown, certain ones have increased the age limit and increased fines,” said board Chairman Russell Clark. “Right now, Scituate is in the middle. With e-cigarettes [regulations], we will be on the forefront.”

According to Clark, several provisions involve e-cigarette sales, including restricting the sales to those 18 and older. The use of e-cigarettes would also be restricted similarly to regular tobacco products.

Discussions are also under way to raise the overall age of buying cigarette products to 19 to 21, from the current 18.

“I think all of us have an open mind to it, but I’m not sure if were going to act on it,” Clark said.

Age limits may also be imposed on the sale of tobacco paraphernalia, if not restricted entirely from the town, Clark said. Prices also will be reviewed.

Clark said tobacco regulations haven’t been changed for at least four years.

“Since the state did away with it in public places, our regulations have been in hand,” Clark said. “We have fines and stuff for people who sell to minors, and I think we’ll look at those again, too, but we did those four years ago. It’s still open for discussion.”

The sweeping discussion has so far generated little controversy. At the board’s meeting on Jan. 27, one business owner sat in on discussions to get a sense of what may change.

Clark hoped that others would come out for the discussion on Feb. 10 to give the board input.

“It’s good to have people part of it,” he said.

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