Adams Board of Health Asked To Draft Tobacco Ban

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Board of Health member Patricia Clarimont and Code Enforcement Officer Scott Kozcela discuss ongoing cases of health concern.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health dropped its push to eliminate electronic cigarettes because they had not seeped into town yet but on Wednesday, they were asked to reconsider.

Selectmen Chairman Arthur "Skip" Harrington, who said he was not representing the Selectmen, asked the board to consider drafting bylaws to eliminate electronic cigarettes and other nicotine products.

He pointed to the recent ban in Pittsfield that limits pharmacies from selling tobacco products as a model.

North Adams has also voted for stricter tobacco regulations, including the sale of ecigarettes to youth.

"They're purchased like candy. They are being sold like candy in this community," Harrington said. "We need to take action in educating people and get them out of our community."

The Board of Health had previously considered banning electronic cigarettes when the product first hit the market in the Berkshire Mall. However, the members did not find them being sold in town and dropped their bid to outlaw them.

"I think that needs to happen. We need to get these products out of reach of the children," Harrington said.

Electronic cigarettes vaporize a nicotine solution for the user to inhale. The product comes in various flavors. Harrington said that there are all kinds of new and similar tobacco products hitting the market that can be marketed to children that he'd like to ban.

Electronic cigarette supporters claim the device is a tool to help smokers quit.

The board said they would look into the products again.

In a separate complaint, Harrington also said there is a health concern with residents not picking up after their dogs on town roads. He hoped the board could make some type of effort to remind people to clean up after their animals as well as asked if there can be an increased number of poop scoop bags around town.

"People are not picking up after their animals and it's getting worse," Harrington said. "We could use some more of those [bag distributors]."

The board shared stories of confronting people, citing that there is a bylaw allowing the town to fine those who allow their pets to poop on town streets without cleaning it up. However, it is difficult to catch the dog owners in the act. Board members said they will look into getting more locations for residents to get poop scoop bags.

The board also discussed ongoing health concern cases, mostly regarding residential units. However, member Roy Thompson said the legal process involved in cleaning up blight takes too long.

Thompson said he would like to bring the issue up with other boards of health to talk about how to expedite the process of cleaning blight, which could go as far as lobbying state legislators to change laws.

"We have to do something internally to have more strength or money to fix these houses," Thompson said. "The people that live next to these buildings should not be living like this."

Currently the town has the ability to demand cleanups or repairs if property owners do not comply with the codes. Failing that, town can go through a lengthy legal process to demolish the structure, the cost of which  falls onto the town.

Tags: blight,   board of health,   dogs,   poop,   tobacco regulations,   

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