Town Looking at Raising Age of Buying Cigarettes to 21

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A public hearing will be held to discuss raising the legal age of tobacco sales in Watertown.

The current minimum age to buy tobacco products in Watertown is 19, but the proposal from the Board of Health would raise it to 21. The hearing will be held on Monday, Oct. 20 at 8:15 p.m. in the Council Chamber in Town Hall, 149 Main St.

The town has two regulations for tobacco, and the Board of Health also seeks to combine them into one called “Regulation Regarding Smoking and the Sale and Use of Tobacco and Nicotine Delivery Products.”

“We hope this will eliminate any confusion finding all of the tobacco regulations in one place,” said an announcement by the Board of Health.

Along with raising the age of purchasing tobacco, it also specifies what is covered by the regulation. It would ban the use of non-residential roll-your-own machines and the sale of flavored tobacco and nicotine delivery products except in retail tobacco stores or smoking bars. It would allow hookah with essentially the same regulations used for smoking bars.

According to the announcement, places where smoking or the use of nicotine delivery products is prohibited has been greatly expanded to include: playgrounds, parks, recreational facilities and athletic fields, areas within 25 feet of all municipal buildings, health care institutions, bed & breakfast facilities, outdoor seating associated with food service establishments or bars, outdoor seating areas for public events, waiting areas for public transportation, buses or taxis if there is an enclosure with at least two sides, beano or bingo in a private
club, private events such as weddings and in nursing homes except under MGL Chapter 270, Section 22.

If you cannot attend this hearing, you may send written comments to the Health Department, 149 Main St., Watertown, MA 02472, no later than Friday, October 17, 2014.

A copy of the proposed the draft regulation can be accessed in the document center on the Town of Watertown website. Please visit, click on ‘Document Center’ in the upper right corner of the webpage, click on the ‘Health’ folder, click on the ‘Draft Regulations’ folder, and the ‘Draft Regulation Regarding Smoking and the Sale and Use of Tobacco and Nicotine Delivery Products’ will be on the right.

The Board of Health urges people t0 read the entire regulation and do not rely on just the summary above.

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