City Takes First Steps to Raise Age on All Tobacco Purchases to 21

First steps were taken at a public hearing to raise the age to purchase all tobacco and nicotine products, including e- cigarettes in the City of Boston to 21.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh joined public health officials, advocates and local youth in support of making changes to the City’s tobacco regulations.

“It is our responsibility to do what we can to guide our young people and create a healthier future for all Bostonians,” said Mayor Walsh in a press release.

Written comments can be submitted until Wednesday, December 9. The Board of Health is expected to vote on Thursday, December 17 regarding these changes. If approved, they will become effective 60 days after passage.

Apparently, cigarette smoking contributes to more deaths than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle accidents and fire arm related incidents combined.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free kids claim that “By raising the tobacco sale age to 21, Boston can continue its long-standing leadership in fighting tobacco and make the next generation tobacco free.”

Those testifying at the hearing agreed, moving forward with this proposal, “Boston will reduce smoking and protect young people from this deadly addiction.”

Reportedly, 95 percent of adult smokers began smoking before the age of 21, and ages 18-21 are critical years when young people transition from experimenting with tobacco to become regular users.

Apparently, Boston has seen a substantial reduction in youth cigarette use, due in part to robust tobacco measures.

The rate among high school students use of cigarettes has reportedly declined from 15.3percent in 2005 to 7.9 percent and 2013 and is well below the national average of 15.7 percent.

            In addition to raising the age to buy tobacco and nicotine products, proposed amendments will also: increase the age of admission to adult-only retail tobacco stores and smoking bars to 21; prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products and nicotine delivery products other than menthol in all retail outlets except for adult-only retail tobacco stores and smoking bars; simplify and streamline current regulations, making them easier to understand and administer, ensuring that restrictions on the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies and educational institutions include e- cigarettes and other nicotine delivery products; and clarify the authority of the Tobacco Control Program to review tobacco permit applicants’ violation history when reviewing applications and renewals.

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