One of Massachusetts’ smallest towns has joined the list of municipalities to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21-years-old, as earlier this month the town of Chilmark passed a new ordinance that went into effect on May 17.
Chilmark, located in the Martha’s Vineyard region of the state, became the first town on the island to pass such an increase, which also applies to e-cigarettes and alternative nicotine delivery products.
The town is also requiring all tobacco retailers to obtain a license before selling such products, and each license must be renewed on an annual basis. The total number of licenses for the town has been capped at a maximum of three, and new tobacco retailers must not be located with 500 feet of a school.
Retailers are also prohibited from selling single cigars priced at less than $2.50, while factory-wrapped packages must be sold for at least five dollars. The sale of blunt wraps has also been banned as part of the legislation, as has the distribution of free samples.
Violators of any of the new rules will face an initial fine of $200, with a second violation within a 24-month period coming with an additional $200 fine and a suspension of the license for 30 days. A third violation in that same period sees the fine increase to $300, while the suspension of the license goes to 180 days.
A bill to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21-years-old is currently being considered by the Massachusetts Senate.
Chilmark is home to 866 residents, according to 2010 population estimates.