This comes on the heels of Massachusetts raising the legal age for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21, which goes into effect on December 31.
Somerville’s move, the first of its kind in the state and possibly the nation, goes further by taking menthol and e-cigarettes out of shops, like convenience stores, that teens can enter. The new restriction in this city outside of Boston will go into effect on April 1, 2019.
“We are rising to that challenge by becoming an early adopter of these regulations,” Curtatone continued, “and taking the necessary steps to stop the cycle of nicotine addiction among our young.”
Those findings, released in November, sounded new alarms about a growing epidemic.
“We still believe that non-combustible forms of nicotine delivery, such as e-cigarettes, may be less harmful alternatives for currently addicted adult smokers who still seek nicotine,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said last month.
“But as we’ve said before, we will not allow that opportunity to come at the expense of addicting a whole new generation of kids to nicotine,” he added. “We must close the on-ramp of nicotine addiction for kids even if it risks narrowing the off-ramp from smoking for adults.”
Vince Willmore, the vice president of communications for the advocacy group, applauded Somerville’s move, saying he believes the city is “the first to limit sales of all e-cigarettes to adult-only tobacco stores.”
But Willmore said what needs to happen extends beyond local municipalities. He wants the FDA to take a stronger stand, too.
What he and his fellow advocates would like to see includes an end to online sales of e-cigarettes “until stronger safeguards are in place to prevent sales to kids,” he said.
He’d also like to see a ban on flavored e-cigarettes, unless manufacturers can prove that specific flavors are effective in helping smokers kick the habit.
Those fighting the day-to-day war against teens’ use of nicotine, however, can and should take inspiration from local battles, Willmore said.
“What Somerville has done represents the kind of forceful action we need to address … [this] public health emergency,” he said. “It’s a good example of what other communities need to do.”
News credit : Cnn