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The Board of Health is moving forward with a regulation that would raise the age to buy cigarettes to 21.

Adams Board Of Health Updating Tobacco Regulations

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health last week agreed to update all the town's tobacco regulations during the process of increasing the legal age of buying tobacco from 18 to 21.

The board determined at its workshop meeting Tuesday that the tobacco age increase would not be a new regulation, but an amendment. Board members decided that working with Tri-Town Health Department was a chance to make sure all of the tobacco regulations are up to date.

"They said they would help us and walk us through this as we needed them," Chairman Allen Mendel said. "I would like to have them go through our regulations ... and make sure we have updated regulations and definitions."

The board said Tri-Town representatives will go through the proposed amendment and make changes; if any changes need to be made throughout the regulations, the board will hold another workshop meeting.

Board member Bruce Shepley read the town of Needham's "Tobacco 21" amendment that he thinks Adams could mirror. The regulation states the age change and evidence proving that it would benefit public health.

As for the public hearing not yet scheduled, the board decided to open the floor up to all those who want to share their opinion.

"This will not be a debate. We are here to listen to both sides and take all of the facts under advisement," Mendel said.

The board also agreed to allow letters to be sent to them from those who may not be able to attend the meeting.

Shepley added that he does not expect to hear from too many retailers because there are few businesses in Adams that sell tobacco products.

"The bottom line in Adams is that we don't have a lot of retail places selling tobacco," he said. "Just a few general stores, and we really we are pretty limited and pretty small."

In other business, the board discussed how it will operate in the interim while the town searches for a new code enforcement officer.

Mendel said a clause in the Board of Health's regulations states that after a property owner files for a pre-rental inspection and after seven days without an inspection, the tenant can move in. However, the property owner takes all liability and must follow the board's rules and regulations.    

"The Board of Health is not held liable or responsible," Mendel said. "But at some point when we do get a code enforcement officer they have to go inspect the apartment and cite any violations."

He added that the board members will continue to check on reported cases and handle them as they always have. If they find a violation, they cannot enforce it will be filed until a code enforcement officer is hired.

"I would think 80 percent of what we will deal with can be resolved by simply knocking on the door and telling them to take care of it," Mendel said. "If that doesn't work we will leave it to the code enforcement officer when we get one."

Tags: board of health,   tobacco regulations,   

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