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Adams Board Of Health Eye E-Cigarette Ban

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health is looking at bumping up the town tobacco policy to restrict electronic cigarettes.

According to Northern Berkshire Tobacco-Free Community Partnership Project Coordinator Joan Rubel, the products have just recently been introduced to the county and do not fit tobacco regulations — including being exempt from tobacco taxes, which make the devices more affordable.

"They haven't been approved for use by our public health community," Rubel said Wednesday. "Right now, the way most tobacco regulations are written, they are not covered unless a town or a city has taken action to cover them. Down the road all of this may be fixed but meanwhile, how many people will become addicted to nicotine through this device? How many kids go back to thinking it's glamorous to see this behavior?"

The device vaporizes a nicotine solution that the user inhale. The Food and Drug Administration is not currently regulating its sale or usage. Rubel said the solutions come in various flavors, can be used inside public buildings and are not age-restricted.

The device is being marketed in different ways, Rubel said. Many companies view it as a safer way to smoke; some see it as a tool to quit smoking; while some companies market it as a way to smoke in smoke-free areas. Companies sell the solution in flavors and with different levels of nicotine.

"I'm an ex-smoker and I know you start out light and then want more and more and more," Board of Health member Roy Thompson said. "I see it as a starter kit."

Thompson argued that it is not intended to help smokers quit but instead "corporate America" is using the loopholes to grow a sales base.

Rubel agreed that it could be used as a tool to quit smoking but added there is currently not enough evidence to support that claim. Too little is known about the amounts of nicotine in the solution or what other chemicals are there, she said.

"They're out on the market without a lot of science," Rubel said.

There has been an array of nicotine products hitting the market in response to a growing smoke-free culture, she said. The device has entered the county only recently with booths selling them at the Berkshire Mall.

Rubel gave the board a model tobacco regulation it could adopt that would restrict the sale and usage of electronic cigarettes. The template was given to Rubel by D.J. Wilson, tobacco control director for the Massachusetts Municipal Association, and can be tweaked to fit the town's wants. It is not easy to just add the electronic cigarettes into the current policy, Rubel said.

For most of the board, Wednesday was the first time they had heard of the product. Members said they will do more research into the product before taking any action.
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Susan B. Anthony a Popular Ask for Women's Rights History Trail

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

State Reps. Paul Mark and Cindy Domb hold a listening session on the creation of a Women's Rights History Trail. Susan B. Anthony's birthplace is a must see, say residents and officials who attended. 

ADAMS, Mass. — A statewide Women's Rights History Trail is in the works and community members want to make sure that Adams, the birthplace of Susan B. Anthony, has a stop.

A popular suggestion was the town's monument of the suffragette built in 2020.

State Rep. Paul Mark and state Rep. Mindy Domb of Amherst hosted a listening session at the Adams Theater on Tuesday to hear what locals would like to see included. This was the first of four hearings to be held across the state.

Selectmen Chair Christine Hoyt explained that the statue depicting Anthony at 6 years old was built so that people could interact with it.

"There are a lot of people who have come before me who have done excellent work to make sure that that memory of Susan B. Anthony and her upbringing, at least up to the age of 6, was here in the town of Adams and we celebrate that," Hoyt said.

Lifelong resident and Selectman Joseph Nowak said he did not think much about the town's history but once he learned the significance of Anthony's story it "really hit home."

"We put together a committee here in Adams to fundraise in order to get the statue where it is now," he said. "Our goals were aggressive. We were looking for $300,000. Nobody thought we could do it and we did it."

Mark and Domb serve as co-chairs of the 16-member Women's Rights History Trail Task Force that was created in 2022 following former Gov. Charlie Baker's signing of Chapter 76 of the Acts of 2022 into law. The bill was first filed in 2017 by the late North Adams state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi.

The task force will be considering locations that are historically and thematically associated with the fight for women's rights and women's suffrage.

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