Franklin Board of Health Wants to Raise Tobacco Purchase Age


The Board of Health in Franklin wants to adopt a new tobacco regulation that would increase age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.  Bruce Hunchard, the Board Chairman, asked to include age limit in new tobacco regulation.

The proposal to limit age for cigarettes purchases came last month from Dr. Lester Hartman of Westwood & Mansfield Pediatrics. He told that the issue is very important because it was estimated that almost 90% of people become smokers before they turn 18.

The first town in the country that increased the age restriction from 18 to 21 is Needham that did it back in 2005.  In the MetroWest area around 10 towns have recently increased their tobacco purchase age.  During the past years Needham expanded its tobacco control regulations. According to Berns, changes that were made helped to promote tobacco education at the state level.

Department of Public Heath reports that the rate of sales of tobacco to minors in Needham is 79% lower than in other cities.

As you probably know, recently Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg signed a law which increases the legal age limit to 21. Health Department of the New York City cited data from Needham, saying that between 2006 and 2012, there was reduced by 50% number of high school students in town who smoked in the last 30 days. That is the reason why now more cities in the USA want to follow this example.

Franklin Health Director David McKearney told that new tobacco regulation in their town resembles the one in Needham. At the moment Franklin has no comprehensive tobacco control laws.

The details of the regulations were not discussed, but McKearney told that he wanted to include controls for flavored cigars and e-cigarettes. He will consider prohibiting smoking in membership clubs, which are excluded from the state’s Smoke-Free Workplace Law.

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