Massachusetts continues to be a hotbed of proposals that would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco from 18 to 19-years-old, as the town of Newburyport’s Board of Health will soon consider the increase as a move that is being described as “an apparent gesture to accommodate concerns of owners of small businesses.”
A previous proposal would have raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, but local merchants told the board that the move would have a significant impact on their businesses and annual income up to the tune of a 40% decrease, according to NewburyportNews.com. While it doesn’t appear that the town has any premium cigar shops, they do have 17 establishments licensed to sell tobacco products.
The board is also taking a look at relaxing the process of transferring a tobacco license when a store is sold. A public hearing regarding the changes will be scheduled in the coming weeks.
If the age increase is passed, Newburyport would join a growing list of cities and towns in Massachusetts to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco. Needham, raised the age to 21 in 2005, while Arlington, Canton, Dover and Sharon have all raised the age to 21. Arlington, Belmont, Brookline, Watertown, and Walpole have raised the minimum age to 19. Earlier this month, Hopkinton, Mass. rejected an age increase to 21.
Newburyport is located in northeastern Massachusetts, just over 40 miles northeast of Boston, and is home to just under 18,000 residents.