The Fall River Board of Health this week discussed the possibility of raising the Minimum Legal Sales Age to purchase tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21, with no exemptions or exceptions.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of the measure despite many city business owners speaking out at the meeting against the measure.
The new state law that will go into effect in Massachusetts on December 31, 2018 raises the age to purchase tobacco and vaping products from 18 but includes a ‘grandfather clause’. In that grandfather clause, anyone who turns 18 by December 30, 2018 will still be able to continue to purchase tobacco products. Anyone who turns 18 after December 30, 2018 will not be able to purchase.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of removing the clause.
According to Tobacco Control Coordinator Marilyn Edge, Boards of Health in Massachusetts have the ability to remove the grandfather clause prior to December 31, 2018. In the Board’s decision, they decided in what they feel was to simplify the law for business owners along with protecting younger people from the dangers.
Signs will be distributed to city retailers to notify the public of the law and the exception removal.
On July 27th of this year, Governor Charlie Baker signed the Act which will raise the legal age to buy tobacco products statewide from 18 to 21.
The bill also broadens existing prohibitions on public smoking to include e-cigarettes, and prohibits the use of tobacco products on the grounds of any public or private primary, secondary, or vocational school. Additionally, the new law will prohibit the sale of tobacco products by any pharmacy, hospital, or other entity that offers health care services or that employs any licensed health care providers.
Governor Charlie Baker stated at the time that: “Raising the age to buy tobacco products in the Commonwealth is an important step to prevent addiction for young people and encourage healthy choices. We appreciate the Legislature’s collaboration to pass this bill that will limit the purchasing of cigarettes and other harmful products for those under 21 to support long term health for the next generation.”