Board of Health Welcomes New Member Astrid Weins

The Board of Health welcomed its new member Tuesday night and brought her up to speed on what the board is working on.

Astrid Weins, MD, PhD, was appointed to the board by the Town Council two weeks ago. She is a pathologist at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. A native of Germany, she has lived in Winthrop for 10 years with her husband and children. Having a physician on the Board of Health was a goal for the group.

One of the first issues discussed was the recent change in age for buying tobacco products from 18 to 21, which goes into effect on June 1. Bonny Carroll, director of the Six City Tobacco Initative, said she has begun the education process with the holders of the 19 tobacco sales permits. She said there were no issues, even with two establishments she had anticipated having problems with.

“I want to change hearts,” Carroll said, adding that the one did change by the time she left the shop. She said the other establishment made off that the change was no big deal, “they only sold a couple of packs a week.”

Carroll said she will conduct visits again in May so everyone is ready for implementation in June.

The board also looking into the workplace smoking regulations as it relates to smoking tobacco, e-cigarettes and vaping. This would also cover buffer zones around public buildings, social clubs, parks and beaches. Currently, employees of Town Hall can be seen smoking around the property.

“That may come to an end,” said Board of Health chair Bill Schmidt, adding that the same policies could also impact marijuana use.

As far as other policies regarding marijuana, the Board of Health is looking to the Town Council for direction.

“The constraint is enforcement (of these policies),” said Board of Health vice president Susan MaGuire.

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