Worcester health board raises minimum age for tobacco to 21

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2016/06/02/worcester-health-board-raises-minimum-age-for-tobacco-to-21/

It’s going to get harder for teens to buy a pack of smokes in the second largest city in Massachusetts, after the Worcester Board of Health voted to raise the legal age to buy cigarettes to 21 in September.

The unanimous vote followed a packed public hearing Wednesday night, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, in a story posted on the board’s Facebook page. Activists said the move will help them convince other area health boards to take similar actions.

One, Dr. Lester Hartman, a pediatrician and co-founder of Tobacco 21, said the same higher age limit imposed in Needham led to a sharp reduction in the amount of youth smoking there compared with neighboring Wellesley, where 18-year-olds can buy tobacco products, the Telegram reported.

Retailers objected to the move in the absence of a statewide policy banning tobacco sales to people under 21 instead of 18. Some also criticized the penalties laid out by the board, the newspaper reported.

At least one observer, commenting on the board’s Facebook page, pointed out “the world’s a big contradiction” in that an 18-year-old can join the U.S. military and fight for the country but by Sept. 1, couldn’t buy cigarettes in Worcester.