BOSTON – In an effort to reduce exposure to the harmful effects of tobacco, the Boston Public Health Commission board today approved banning the sale of tobacco products at health and educational institutions, including pharmacies and drug stores and college and university campuses. The ban is effective in 60 days.
The board also voted to expand workplace smoking restrictions to include adjacent areas such as patios and loading docks, and to prohibit smoking in hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts in Boston. Those changes immediately go into effect.
«Tobacco exposure continues to be a significant factor that contributes to preventable sickness and death,» said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission. «The board’s actions will help reduce young people’s exposure to tobacco products, and ensure that they are not exposed to products that make them sick when they go to places like pharmacies to get well.»
Under the regulations, no new smoking bars, such as hookah bars that cater to young people, will be allowed to open. Smoking establishments currently permitted to operate can remain open for 10 years.
The board also voted to make it illegal for stores to sell blunt wraps, a tobacco leaf often marketed to youths and known to be used as drug paraphernalia, and to impose steeper fines on establishments that violate the city’s new smoking regulations. Those fines, including for pharmacies and colleges that defy the ban, will range from $200 to $1,000.
The Commission is also expanding smoking cessation resources in Boston, including:
%u25CF Increasing opportunities to train health workers in tobacco treatment counseling;
%u25CF Working with pharmacists to offer free individual and group smoking cessation counseling and nicotine patches;
%u25CF Promoting the MassHealth and other tobacco cessation benefits to health centers and hospitals through training and technical assistance;
%u25CF Distributing information on smoking cessation programs throughout Boston.