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Health Board Limiting E-Cigarette/ Vaping Sales

The Board of Health voted unanimously on September 16 to restrict the sales of e-cigarettes and "vaping" devices to just the two or three businesses licensed as "smoke shops" within the town beginning in December – effectively banning their sales in about 30 other businesses licensed to sell tobacco and related products.

Board member Paul Mazzuchelli said the amount of middle school and high school students using e-cigarettes and "vaping" on school property in Milford constitutes an "epidemic" that needs to be curtailed.

Current Board of Health regulations classify e-cigarettes and vaping devices as tobacco-related products that cannot be used in public places, plus the state law regulating smoke-free workplaces allows smokers to be fined, Mazzuchelli said.

In the late 1990s, the board designated certain school employees as official Board of Health agents, allowing them to impose fines on students who smoked cigarettes on school grounds, Mazzuchelli recalled. In addition to fines,

students were made to attend smoking cessation programs, he added – moves that reduced the numbers of students who smoked. "When there's a fine involved, you're notifying the parents of the infraction," Mazzuchelli said.

Now, school resources officers and the board members want to repeat that past designation to combat vaping, Mazzuchelli said. Board Chair Leonard Izzo said the schools are asking for people to be deputized. Health Inspector Lisa Tamagni added that the School Department will be forwarding the names of appropriate school administrators to the board.

"I'd like to take this a step further," Mazzuchelli said. He requested the board meet with school administrators, as well as the Worcester County District Attorney's office. That office, he explained, would criminally prosecute students who did not pay their fines for vaping on school property. "It does work," he said of the fines.

Izzo suggested meeting with the school resources officers and all school principals and vice principals to discuss initiating the updated program.


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