Thursday, August 15, 2013

Canton toughens stance against smoking

The Boston Globe
Dave Eisenstadter
August 15, 2013

Massachusetts -- Canton toughened its stance against tobacco and nicotine on Monday but backed away from a proposal to ban electronic cigarettes.

The Board of Health voted to raise the age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21, and banned so-called nonmedical nicotine-delivery products. This includes dissolvable nicotine tablets and snus, a powder tobacco product.

The main purpose of the new restrictions is to keep tobacco and nicotine away from minors, according to Director of Public Health John L. Ciccotelli.

“They are getting a lot of their tobacco from older siblings and other adult friends of the family, and most of the people doing the purchasing are between the ages of 18 and 21,” Ciccotelli said on Monday.

Electronic cigarettes were originally included among the banned items, but the Board of Health changed that Monday. Electronic cigarettes and nicotine patches and gum are exempt from the ban, but the age to purchase these items also was raised to 21.

Ciccotelli said he thought electronic cigarettes were not an effective quitting aid, but he received hundreds of e-mails and calls pointing to research to the contrary, he said. The same sentiment was expressed at Monday’s hearing.

Karen Carey of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association said electronic cigarettes should be available to people age 18 and older.

“Every adult smoker has the right to have available reduced-risk alternatives,” Carey said.

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