HAVERHILL, Mass. – The Haverhill, Massachusetts, Board of Health is facing a proposal to increase the age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21. The city will hold a public hearing on October 15.
According to officials with the state’s Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program, the proposal aims to reduce the health and economic burden of tobacco use by preventing young people from starting to smoke, helping current smokers to quit, and protecting children and adults from secondhand smoke.
The Eagle Tribune reported that Haverhill’s Board of Health “met earlier this month to review a plan created three years ago, but [it] was never implemented because at the time the board was under the impression the state legislature was to enact tobacco regulations.”
Now, there’s a new state law that will increase the age for purchasing tobacco to 19 on December 31, 2018; age 20 on December 31, 2019; and age 21 on December 31, 2020. The Board of Health Chairman told reporters that this plan isn’t strict enough.
The proposed Haverhill plan would:
- Increase the age of the purchase of tobacco products from 18 to 21
- Cap the number of locations where tobacco products can be sold to 70 (currently there are approximately 65 locations in the city)
- Prohibit any new applications for tobacco sales within 500 feet of a school (existing applications and approvals do not need to change)
- Cap the number of smoke shops in Haverhill to four
- Prohibit the sale of blunt wraps to the four aforementioned stores
If the regulations pass, Haverhill would join 180 other Massachusetts communities that already have enacted higher age limits on tobacco products.