WINTHROP – If you are under 21 years of age and trying to buy tobacco products you’re going to have to go out of town. If you want to smoke on the beach or park, you can’t.
The Board of Health will make a presentation to Town Council next Tuesday night explaining the changes in the regulations.
The new regulations prohibit smoking in workplaces and public places. Smoking is prohibited in retail tobacco stores, town-owned parks, playgrounds, hotels, motels and B&B’s. You also may not smoke in outdoor areas where food and/or beverages are served. There will be no smoking on town-owned beaches and e-cigarettes are not allowed in places where smoking is not allowed. There will also be a ban on “roll your own” machines.
Disobeying the regulations will result in $100 fine for the first offense; $200 for the second offense and $300 for the third. If there is a continued problem in a building any Board of Health issued permit will be revoked or suspended.
Meredith Hurley, the town’s health nurse, said there will be no sale of rolling papers,no sale of blunt wrappers, no flavored cigar wraps or e-cigarettes (also known as “vaping”).
“(E-cigarettes) are often said to be safer,” Hurley said. “We don’t know what’s in them because they are unregulated.”
E-cigarettes at this point can be purchased by anyone no matter the age. That means even a 10-year-old can purchase one. Once the regulations go into effect the minimum age will be 21. Many of the flavors offered, like bubble gum and cotton candy, appeal to young people.
Hurley explained that nationwide 15.7 percent of students who smoke cigarettes are under the age of 18, of those students, 14.1 percent usually by them in a store. Research has also shown that nicotine is as addictive as cocaine or heroin. Research has also shown that raising the drinking age to 21 has helped reduce consumption by teens.