The trio of Lee, Lenox and Stockbridge, Mass. have agreed to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and electronic cigarettes to 21-years-old, as the Tri Town Boards of Health approved the proposal at its meeting on Monday night.
While each of the three towns maintains its own health department, they have had a collective organization since 1929 to oversee health-related issues within those communities. The TTBoH had considered two options for the increase, one that would gradually raise the age over three years and a second that would increase it in one fell swoop on Jan. 2, 2016. After hearing testimony from several community members as well as Dr. Lester Hartman, noted pediatrician and advocate of raising the tobacco purchase age to 21, the board approved the latter option, according to the Berkshire Eagle.
In addition to the age increase, the TTBoH set new pricing minimums for cigars: $2.50 for a single cigar and $5 for any package containing multiple cigars. It also approved a cap on the number of tobacco retailer licenses in each town, with no new licenses to be issued other than what currently exists.
Lee has a population of nearly 6,000 people, while Lenox has a population of just over 5,000 people and Stockbridge is home to nearly 2,000 residents. All three towns are located in Berkshire County, approximately 130 miles west of Boston.