Medway, Mass. is looking at updating its policies towards tobacco, and as part of an ongoing public discussion is holding a public hearing tonight on the wide range of policy changes being considered.
The most prominent is a proposed change to the minimum age to purchase tobacco within city limits, which currently sits at 18 years of age. In May, a non-binding advisory vote was taken on a proposal to raise the age to 21, with the proposal approved by voters by a count of 479 in favor to 252 opposed. Any change though would have to be approved by the city’s board of health, who has been reluctant to implement the change without getting as much public input and comment as it can.
Updates to exemptions for where people can and cannot smoke are also being considered in an attempt to bring businesses into compliance with the city’s 2004 Smoke-Free Workplace law. Currently, hotels and motels are not regulated by the law, and according to the Milford Daily News, other targets include banning cigar and hookah bars; placing 25 feet buffer zones around municipal buildings; banning smoking in town parks, playgrounds fields and beaches; banning smoking in outdoor areas of restaurants, bars and taverns, and bus and taxi waiting areas. E-cigarettes would also be banned in those areas should the changes be approved.
Finally, the board will look at banning the sale of e-cigarettes without a permit, as well as sales bans or restrictions on blunt wraps, single-packaged cigars under $7.50, tobacco vending machines and non-residential roll-your-own machines.
Medway is located in Norfolk County, approximately 23 miles southwest of Boston, and is home to nearly 13,000 residents.