The town of Newburyport, Mass. is the latest to join the movement of municipalities raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products. On Tuesday, the town’s board of health voted to raise the threshold from 18 to 19 years of age, with the change set to go into effect on July 1.
Several public hearings were held in advance of the vote, which was originally slated to raise the minimum age to 21. Cries from local businesses that the move would drive business out of town or across state lines resulted in a compromise at 19. The move is being pitched as a way to prevent those under 18 from asking friends to purchase tobacco products for them, saying that the increase creates a bigger difference.
According to NewburyPortNews.com, the city currently has 17 locations that are licensed to sell tobacco products, and with the change also comes limits on the number of stores that will be able to sell tobacco. Tobacco sales at pharmacies is now prohibited, as are smoking bars along with restrictions on the sale of inexpensive single cigars and electronic cigarettes.