The Boston Board of Health voted unanimously Dec. 17 to change the minimum age to purchase cigarettes in Boston from 18 to 21.
Boston is now among more than 85 cities and towns in Massachusetts to adopt an increased tobacco-buying age. Worcester is not.
The proposal was submitted by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and will take effect on Feb. 15, 2016, despite opposition from a group representing the city’s tobacco retailers and convenience stores.
In a statement, Walsh said, “We know the consequences of tobacco use are real and can be devastating. These changes send a strong message that Boston takes the issue of preventing tobacco addiction seriously, and I hope that message is heard throughout Boston and across the entire country.”
Although cigarette use among high school students in Boston is half the national rate of 15.7 percent, the city’s Board of Health acted to increase the age due to increased use of e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco.
Worcester prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18.
Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty applauded the efforts of Walsh and the change in Boston’s tobacco ordinance.
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