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Milford Raising Minimum Tobacco Age to 21

On April 1, Milford will join 91 other communities across Massachusetts by raising the minimum age for legal access to tobacco products from 18 to 21. The Board of Health voted unanimously on January 11 to make the change.

"There's a lot of scientific studies" recommending the three-year increase," Health Agent Paul Mazzuchelli told board members. "It makes all the sense in the world." Other studies show the age increase would affect businesses by less than two percent – "little or no effect," he added.

Mazzuchelli praised the board's action, commenting, "We're leaders when it comes to public health." The town led the state by five years in requirements to have food handlers be certified and in banning smoking in public places, he noted.

The change affects all tobacco and "Nicotine delivery" products. Board members originally asked for the age increase to take effect on March 1, but Mazzuchelli asked for the extra month to give him enough time to notify all affected businesses within the town.

Board member Kenneth Evans said the town used to run its own tobacco prevention program with state funding, but noted that former Governor Deval Patrick consolidated such funds at the state level. Evans asked Mazzuchelli to contact Dr. Lester Hartman – a leader in the state's "Tobacco 21" efforts – and ask the doctor to help lobby the state to return the funding to local communities.




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