Northampton Health Board may limit menthol cigarette sales

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Staff Writer
Published: 10/16/2019 11:35:13 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The Board of Health will be tackling tobacco issues at its Thursday meeting, including restricting where menthol-flavored tobacco products can be sold in the city.

The meeting will be from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the second-floor hearing room in City Hall.

Chair Joanne Levin said that at its previous meeting, the board voted to consider four policies in changing the city’s health regulation restricting sales of nicotine and tobacco products. These are treating menthol, mint and wintergreen as flavors for tobacco products, meaning they could only be sold at tobacconist establishments (essentially smoke shops); restricting the sale of tobacco delivery devices such as pipes to tobacconist establishments, reducing the number of tobacco sales permits in the city by attrition, meaning that they would go away if not claimed after a certain time; and capping the number of tobacconist establishments.

Levine noted that exact language has not yet been determined for these policies.

In addition to these four, she said that forbidding the repackaging of tobacco products, a plan for the disposal of liquid nicotine, and requiring nicotine gels and liquids to be in child-resistant packaging will also be considered.

The agenda for the meeting also says restricting the sale of tobacco to tobacconist establishments will be considered as well.

Once the exact language for proposals is determined by the board, Levine said a public hearing will be held before a vote is taken on them.

“We certainly want the public’s input on these regulations,” Levine said.

As for why the board of health is revisiting its tobacco regulation, Levine said that there is a “vaping epidemic.”

She also said cigarette use has gone up as well.

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