Foxboro raises age limit for tobacco purchases - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Foxboro raises age limit for tobacco purchases

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By: Melissa Randall

Twenty-one has long been the minimum age for buying alcohol, but in just a few weeks cigarettes and chewing tobacco will have the same restrictions in Foxboro. The town is joining a growing list of Massachusetts towns that are changing the age restrictions for tobacco sales. Starting August 1st, it will rise from 18- the state minimum to 21.

“I think it's a great idea. I don’t think anybody should smoke. I think it’s disgusting and I hope it works,” said George Lincoln of Foxboro.

“I really don’t think if 18 year olds are allowed to smoke its all that terrible. They are considered adults at that age, largely and they should be able to make that decision on their own,” said one resident.

The town’s Board of Health had been weighing the idea for quite some time.  A petition of support, signed by dozens of local parents, made their decision easier.

“Most people start smoking very young so the harder it is for young people to have access to that we’re hoping less people will start smoking,” said Paul Steeves of the Foxboro Board of Health.

Not everyone, though, is on board with the new age restrictions.  Some store owners say the divide in laws from town to town will cause confusion and inconvenience customers. 

"The $300 penalty and potential suspension of our permit for selling to a minor will require more customers to produce age verification. The coalition has used older looking school aged agents for stings in the past but now we will have to be like a bar because they will be able to use older looking 20 yr. olds as agents," said Michael Lindley of the Foxboro Shell station in a statement to ABC6 News.

Others say while they agree with the board’s goal, they don’t think it will deter young people from picking up the habit.

“I think that kids are going to smoke underage whether you raise the age or not. They are going to rebel, and if you raise the age, you are just going to have 19-year-olds rebelling instead of 17-year-olds,” said another resident.

The new minimum age applies to all tobacco products including cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

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