Board Tightens Westminster Tobacco Regs
By Stephen Landry
WESTMINSTER -- The Board of Health voted unanimously on Monday to adopt a proposal regulating the sale of tobacco products in the community.
The new regulations, which are scheduled to go into effect on May 1, were aimed at bringing the town into line with surrounding communities, according to board member Edward Simoncini.
The new regulations include: no tobacco sales within 500 feet of a school; a ban on tobacco product sales in educational institutions; restricting flavored tobacco sales to adult tobacco retailers only; no permit renewal if outstanding fines exist; a ban on blunt wraps; and, a tobacco-cessation sign requirement.
The minimum age to buy tobacco in Westminster is 21, in conformance with state law. Anyone selling tobacco products is required to verify the age of the purchaser, and verification is required for any person under the age of 27.
Fines for establishments found to be in violation of the new regulations included $100 and a three-day permit suspension for a first violation; $200 and a permit suspension of 14 days for a second violation; $300 and a 30-day permit suspension for a third violation. Repeated violations could result in a permanent revocation of an establishment’s permit, as determined by the Board of Health.
Under the regulations, no one is permitted to sell or otherwise distribute tobacco products within the town without first obtaining a permit issued annually by the Board of Health. According to the new regulations, there shall be no more than seven tobacco permits issued in the town at any given time.
The sale of flavored tobacco products is restricted to adult-only tobacco retail stores. All vending machines containing tobacco products are prohibited, according to the regulations.