More Massachusetts towns have enacted tobacco regulations in the past two years than in the history of the state’s anti-tobacco campaign, adopting new restrictions largely aimed at how businesses can sell such products.
Since 2012, 12 communities, including Ashland, have raised the legal purchase age for tobacco products beyond 18. Fifty cities and towns ban the sale of blunt wraps, and 39 have set a minimum price for cigars.
Town health boards have the power to pass the regulations without approval from Town Meeting or a higher governing body.
Anti-tobacco activists, doctors and advisers, attend Board of Health meetings and public hearings both to offer up statistics pointing to the health hazards of smoking and to present model regulations that communities mold to their circumstances.