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MA – Medford – Stop Creeping Nicotine Prohibition

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06.18.24 – PUBLIC HEARING (Notice/Agenda)

The Medford Town Board of Health is expected to meet on June 18, 2024, 12:30pm for a PUBLIC HEARING on a rule that would progressively raise the minimum legal sales age for tobacco and nicotine products. If adopted, the so-called “Nicotine Free Generation” (NFG) law would ban sales to adults born “on or after 1/1/2004.”

Prior to June 18, 2024, at 12:30PM, persons may submit written commentary regarding the proposed regulation to:

  • Medford Board of Health
  • City Hall
  • 85 P. Hassett Drive, Third Floor
  • Medford, 02155.
  • Attention: MaryAnn O’Connor

or by e-mail at:

  • MaryAnn O’Connor: 

By way of background, Brookline, MA was the first municipality to enact a NFG law after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in the town’s favor against a tobacco industry lawsuit to stop the rule. The ruling came down in March and since then ten municipalities have begun considering similar legislation with four of them (Melrose, Stoneham, Wakefield, and Winchester) adopting the new law.

While NFG rules are promoted as a kinder, gentler way to ban sales of all tobacco and nicotine products, they are untested and likely to lead to outcomes similar to other laws that impose a drug prohibition. We also know from modeling studies used to support Tobacco-21 laws that raising the minimum legal sales age higher than 21 resulted in a lower net benefit to public health.

It should be known that smoking is on its way out. In Massachusetts, youth smoking is, like the rest of the country, below 2%. While supporters of this rule believe this coercive policy is necessary to eradicate nicotine use altogether, the reality is that many adults will simply turn to informal sources for nicotine products exposing themselves to all of the risks of shopping on an illicit market.

  • Tell local officials to oppose the “Nicotine Free Generation” law.
  • NFG applies different laws to two groups of adults treating them differently from one another for the purchase and use of the same products despite both being 21 years of age or older.
  • Raising the legal sales age higher than 21 has been shown to produced diminishing returns when it comes to reducing tobacco use.
  • NFG creates and supports a dangerous illicit market for unregulated, untaxed nicotine and tobacco products.
  • NFG does nothing to address youth use of nicotine and tobacco products since the policy targets adults upon reaching the age of 21.
  • Be brief, be kind, and say thank you 🙂

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