Hearing Planned for New Smoking Regulations

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

The Board of Health has fine-tuned the town’s tobacco regulations, and needs to do a little more work until a public hearing on the regulations during its December meeting.

So far, the board has five regulations to be considered. The first is to raise the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21. Second, that there will be no tobacco products sold within 500 feet of a school. Third, ban the sale of tobacco products in a healthcare environment (namely, pharmacies). Fourth, reduce the number of tobacco sales permits from 20 to 18 and lastly, there will be no renewal of tobacco permits if there have been three or more illegal sales.

Tuesday night board also heard from Nicholas John, who is with the think tank R-Street Institute. He was there to urge the board to consider e-cigarettes and vaping products as an alternative to tobacco. He said his organization is promoting “tobacco harm reduction.”

“We encourage e-cigs as a much safer alternative,” John said, adding that yes, nicotine, is an addictive substance no matter how you smoke it.

Schmidt said this is something that could be discussed at the upcoming public hearing.

“We want to make e-cigs as accessible as possible,” John said.

Schmidt said the draft of revised smoking regulations will be presented to the Town Council.

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