Amherst health board plans to expand smoking restrictions

  • Amherst Town Hall GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/20/2021 9:06:04 AM

AMHERST — The Board of Health is considering tougher restrictions on smoking and vaping in Amherst, including prohibiting smoking at all inns, bed and breakfasts, and hotel and motel rooms. 

A revised regulation titled Prohibiting Smoking and Vaping in Workplaces and Public Places, last amended in April 2010, will be discussed and voted on at the board’s May 13 meeting.

The revised regulation also adds e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems to conventional cigarettes, and will make them “prohibited wherever smoking is prohibited.”

Chairwoman Nancy Gilbert said at a public hearing April 8 that the board will accept written testimony by email and conventional mail, send to Health Director Emma Dragon, through April 30. At the public hearing, no residents voiced support or opposition to the changes.

The revised regulation would also ban smoking and vaping “in designated waiting areas for public transportation services” and in ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, when the vehicles are being used to transport customers.

Smoking bars, which current regulations allow, also would be banned entirely.

Dillon Maxfield, a member of the town’s Licensing Commission, asked whether this ban would impact marijuana, as the commission is considering drafting rules that might allow a marijuana smoking bar to operate.

Gilbert said the Board of Health has not yet addressed that question.

The new rules, if adopted, would go into effect July 1.

When the regulations last changed 11 years ago, the health board banned smoking within 20 feet of municipal buildings, at all ballfields during certain sporting events and at outdoor restaurant patios.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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