The Watertown Tobacco Control Program consists of enforcing the Board of Health Regulation Regarding Smoking and the Sale and Use of Tobacco and Nicotine Delivery Products. At its meeting on January 14, 2015, the Board of Health voted on a revised tobacco regulation that will become effective on March 1, 2015, with the exception of the Minimum Legal Sales Age (MLSA) to purchase tobacco which will remain at 19 years of age for one additional year. On March 1, 2016, the MLSA will become 21. There was considerable public input starting with the public hearing on October 20th and continuing at the November Board meeting. The delay in implementation of the MLSA of 21 resulted primarily from the input of Town citizens and businesses. There were many issues to take into consideration and new information coming in throughout the process. The revised regulation combines the previous two regulations: one on smoking in the workplace and the other on the sale and use of tobacco and nicotine delivery products. The Board believes strongly that this regulation will contribute to the overall health of the community by reducing the exposure to secondhand smoke and the opportunity for youth to obtain tobacco and nicotine delivery products.
Watertown Health Dept.
149 Main St
Monday - Friday
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The regulation clarifies that nicotine delivery products, and their use, known as vaping, will have the same restrictions as all other tobacco products. It bans the use of non-residential roll-your-own machines and the sale of flavored tobacco (except the four flavors of tobacco, mint, menthol or wintergreen) and nicotine delivery products except in retail tobacco stores or smoking bars. Hookah and electronic cigarette or “vaping” businesses are allowed and come under the definition of “smoking bar.”
The list of places where smoking or the use of nicotine delivery products is prohibited has been greatly expanded to include: playgrounds, parks, recreational facilities and athletic fields, areas within 25 feet of all municipal buildings, health care institutions, bed & breakfast facilities, outdoor seating associated with food service establishments or bars, outdoor seating areas for public events, waiting areas for public transportation, buses or taxis if there is an enclosure with at least two sides, beano or bingo in a private club, private events such as weddings and in nursing homes except under M.G.L. Chapter 270, Section 22.
RESTAURANTS WITH OUTDOOR SEATING: Smoking or the use of nicotine delivery products will now be prohibited in any outdoor seating associated with a food service establishment. Since this is not the season for outdoor seating, there should be sufficient time to install appropriate signage to that effect and to train staff regarding the new prohibition.
TOBACCO PERMIT HOLDERS INCLUDING RETAIL FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS, except those defined as a Retail Tobacco Store or Smoking Bar: The most important revision concerns the Minimum Legal Sales Age. The age will remain at 19 until March 1, 2016. Current signage indicating the MLSA of 19 is in compliance as long as it addresses both tobacco products and nicotine delivery products. All previous prohibitions remain, with the addition that Non-residential Roll-Your-Own machines are strictly prohibited. Also, the sale of all flavored tobacco or nicotine delivery products (except tobacco, menthol, mint or wintergreen flavors) is prohibited. Nicotine liquid containers may not be sold unless they have standard approved childproof caps.
RETAIL TOBACCO STORES AND SMOKING BARS: The most important revision, as stated above, is that the Minimum Legal Sales Age shall remain at 19 until March 1, 2016 when it will change to 21. Previous prohibitions remain with some specific additions. Retail tobacco stores and smoking bars may allow individuals who are the MLSA to smoke or vape. You may not distribute any free samples, but samples for a fee will be allowed. Selling tobacco or nicotine delivery products in any form other than the original factory-wrapped package is prohibited, except that nicotine delivery products that are not pre-filled with nicotine liquid, including but not limited to, mouthpieces, heating elements, batteries or electronic circuits can be sold in retail tobacco stores and smoking bars. You may sell samples of nicotine liquid outside of original factory-wrapped retail packaging for consumption within your establishment. Nicotine liquid containers may not be sold unless they have standard approved childproof caps.
If you have a complaint regarding violations of the Regulation of the Watertown Board of Health Restricting the Sale of Tobacco Products & Nictoine Delivery Products please contact the Health Department.