This week the Hopkinton, Mass. Board of Health rejected a proposal to increase the minimum age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21, rebuffing a campaign from a doctor who has been pushing cities and towns throughout the region to enact an age increase.
The board said that the matter is something for the town to weigh in on, according to a report on MetroWestDailyNews.com, with Board Chairman Mark Gates saying that it should go through a Town Meeting or similar process.
The proposal was brought by Dr. Lester Hartman, a Westwood, Mass. pediatrician who has persuaded a number of neighboring towns to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 19, or in some cases, to 21. The list who have raised the age to 21 includes Ashland, Arlington, Sharon, Dover, Dedham, Canton, Wellesley and Needham, while the towns of Walpole and Westwood have raised it to 19, Hartman told the site.
It was Hartman’s hometown of Needham that first raised the tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21 in 2005. He told the site that he has four more towns on his list and is working to get the state to raise the state to raise the minimum purchase age to 21.