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The Adams Board of Health is considering following Williamstown and Lanesborough's lead in raising the age to purchase smoking products.

Adams Looks At Raising Tobacco Age

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health will consider raising the legal age of sale of tobacco products and e-cigarettes in town.

Chairman Allen Mendel told the board members Wednesday that the committee should begin the process of creating a proposal for increasing the legal age of sale and schedule a public hearing before the end of the year.  

"I think it is something we should be looking at, and it does take a little time to set the whole thing up," Mendel said. "There are some good resources out there to help us get going."

Mendel suggested that the board reach out to other communities that have increased the age and agencies that have an interest in health and tobacco control.

Commissioner Bruce Shepley agreed that it would be beneficial to start the process soon and said he has been composing a working proposal with evidence supporting the increased age. By reaching out to other communities, Shepley said, the board can fine tune the language and provide a solid document.

Shepley added that he was surprised that legally the board does not have to hold a public hearing and could technically make the decision outright, however, he found it to be important to hear what people think.

The board agreed to hold a workshop sometime before its December meeting. After this, the commissioners would like to hold a public hearing and go over the pros and cons with involved people and businesses.

"Whether we can do it or not, I don't think that it is essential that we have it done right away, but it is always good to get it up and talking and have some avenues out there," Mendel said.

Nearly 70 towns in the state have raised the age of tobacco sales to 21. In Berkshire County, both Williamstown and Lanesborough made the change.

Also during the meeting, Town Administrator Tony Muzzucco told the board that he would like to hold more emergency planning meetings and focus on better communication, emergency functions, and capacity.

"I think there is a fair amount of ground we need to cover ... and I want us all to be on the same page," Mazzucco said. "We have done fine in the last few years with smaller events, but my concern is always what happens if we have an event like a seven-day power outage ... and how we react to that."

Mazzucco added that he would like to get to the point where the town can do tabletop emergency exercises.

In other business, Shepley added that he will be holing a flu and shingles forum at the Council on Aging on Wednesday at 9 a.m.

"It will be very informal," he said. "I am going to sit with whoever shows up and give them a brief overview and listen to their concerns."

He added that he will be open to holding more meetings about other concerns the elderly may have.

Shepley also noted that the Board of Health now makes posts on the town's Facebook page about public health concerns.

Mazzucco said it is good to add new elements to the page.  

"It adds to the content, and there are weeks when the town does not have much to push out so it gives residents a reason to keep an eye on the page," Mazzucco said. 

Tags: board of health,   smoking regulations,   

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