In a unanimous vote on Thursday night, the Boston Public Health Commission decided to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21-years-old, a change that will go into effect on Feb. 15, 2016.
The commission also approved a new rule that will bar anyone under the age of 21 from entering retail tobacco stores or smoking bars, and removes all flavored tobacco products other than menthol from stores that do not limit access to adults only, such as convenience and grocery stores.
The proposal found itself on the fast track to a vote after Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced his intention to seek the increase in mid-November. It becomes by far the biggest score in the movement to raise the age to purchase tobacco products statewide to 21, something more than 80 cities have signed onto.
In a statement issued after the vote, Walsh said that “we know the consequences of tobacco use are real and can be devastating; these changes send a strong message that Boston takes the issue of preventing tobacco addiction seriously.”
Boston is the capitol of Massachusetts and its largest city, home to just over 655,000 residents, while the surrounding metropolitan area has 4.6 million residents.