FRANKLIN — The Board of Health is considering a new tobacco regulation that would raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.
Board Chairman Bruce Hunchard has requested that the age limit be included with other new tobacco regulations currently being drafted by town health officials.
The three-member board last month heard from a proponent of the age limit increase, Dr. Lester Hartman of Westwood & Mansfield Pediatrics. Hartman cited data showing that before they turn 18, 80 to 90 percent of smokers are already addicted to cigarettes and tobacco products.
In 2005, Needham became the first town in the country to raise the age restriction from 18 to 21, according to its public health director, Janice Berns. In the MetroWest area, Berns said, roughly 10 other towns have recently raised their tobacco purchase age.