Board of Health Considering Tougher Tobacco Regulations in Watertown

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The Watertown Board of Health will consider strengthening restrictions on purchasing tobacco products in Watertown.

The Watertown Board of Health sent out the following statement:

In the interest of enhancing the public health protection of Watertown’s youth and adult community, the Watertown Board of Health is proposing additional restrictions on the availability of tobacco products in Watertown.

The Board invites all to offer comment on the proposed changes at a Public Hearing on November 15, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Town Administration Building located at 149 Main Street in Watertown.

Proposed changes to the existing regulations include a ban on blunt wraps,
implementation of minimum pricing on single cigars, establishment of a 500 foot buffer around all schools on new Tobacco Sales Permits, and a cap on the number of Tobacco Permits that will be issued in Watertown.

D.J. Wilson, Tobacco Control Director and Public Health Liaison for the Massachusetts Municipal Association, stated that “The proposed additions to the current Watertown ‘Regulation Regarding Smoking and the Sale and Use of Tobacco Products’ provide additional strategies to keep youth from starting to use tobacco products and to prompt current tobacco users to quit. These proposed policies have each been adopted by dozens of cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth in a multi-prong approach to reduce tobacco use and nicotine addiction.”

Deborah Rosati, Director of Public Health for the Watertown Health Department indicated that some of the changes were encouraged by the Watertown Youth Peer Leaders as a way of discouraging our youth from gaining access to potentially harmful tobacco products. The Youth Peer study of tobacco product availability in Watertown, through “The 84 Movement” community mapping project, indicated that there are more tobacco retail stores than parks, schools, playgrounds and other teen hangouts combined. Rosati further indicated that with an existing 37 tobacco retailers in Watertown, the town ranks fourth out of 54 cities and towns in Middlesex County for Youth Retail (Tobacco) Density, a measure of the number of tobacco retailers per 1,000 youth (under the age of 18).

The draft regulations may be found on the Town of Watertown website at: or a copy may be obtained in the Watertown Health Department office located in the Town Administration Building at 149 Main St. in Watertown.

Written comments will be accepted until Monday, November 13, 2017 at 5:00 pm.
Please deliver comments to the Health Department office or mail to: Watertown Health Department, ATTN: Tobacco Control Regulations, 149 Main St., Watertown, MA 02472.

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