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Brookline, Massachusetts banned the sale of cigarettes and related products to those born after Jan. 1, 2000. Will the restriction catch on in other places?
A handful of cities ban the sale of tobacco products, but Brookline, Massachusetts may be the first in the nation to prohibit people born after Jan. 1, 2000 from buying them. It’s a move some groups hope will be replicated.
"We hope that this latest move motivates other cities in Massachusetts and beyond to follow their lead," Laurent Huber, executive director at Action on Smoking and Health, an organization advocating to end the global tobacco epidemic, said in a statement.
Brookline is a small city outside of Boston that has been an advocate for anti-tobacco laws, including smoke-free laws and raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products. According to the Tobacco Free Generation law enacted last year, retail stores must post a sign stating “the sale of tobacco or e-cigarette products to someone born after Jan. 1, 2000” is prohibited. In addition, the sign must be bigger than 8.5 inches by 11 inches and be placed "conspicuously" in a “legible manner” directly facing the customer.
Huber also suggests the city provide support for those who wish to quit smoking.
"In addition to preventing a new generation from being addicted to nicotine—and facing the long-term health issues that come with it—Brookline citizens who smoke will be further motivated to quit as smoking becomes rarer around them," Huber said.
However, not everyone is thrilled about the new policy. According to Time magazine, it faced opposition from local business owners, the government executive board and even a former Brookline public health director.
Ten days before the law went into effect, a group of convenience store owners filed a lawsuit against the town arguing the policy goes against the Massachusetts state law allowing for tobacco sales at age 21.
The lawsuit also states that the policy violates the equal protection guarantees set by the Massachusetts Constitution by dividing the adult population into two classes with unequal rights.
Andre Claudio is an assistant editor at Route Fifty.