[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Health of the Town of Blackstone 9-15-1997. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Purpose and authority. The Blackstone Board of Health finds that tobacco use by minors and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) poses a severe health risk. Accordingly, the purpose of this regulation is to implement a strict and enforceable system to prevent illegal sales of tobacco to minors and to minimize exposure of ETS in public places. The Blackstone Board of Health is authorized under Massachusetts General Laws (MGL), MGL c. 111, § 31, to adopt regulations affecting sales of tobacco products to minors and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in public places.
Youth at risk. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has estimated that 90% of all smokers begin smoking by age 19, and 60% started before age 14. Research shows that 3,000 children begin smoking in the United States each day, and that the majority of these children obtain cigarettes and smokeless tobacco by purchasing it themselves. The Surgeon General has concluded that nicotine is as addictive as cocaine or heroin. Action is needed to curtail the easy access of minors to cigarettes and tobacco products. The Board of Health does hereby find that cigarette smoking and other tobacco use by minors is a continuing problem with grave public health consequences.
Environmental tobacco smoke. There exists substantial evidence that tobacco smoke causes cancer, respiratory diseases and various cardiac problems, allergies, irritation to eyes, nose and throat. Increasing evidence further demonstrates that harmful effects of tobacco smoke are not just confined to smokers but also cause severe discomfort and in some cases grave illnesses to nonsmokers. Moved by these facts, the Blackstone Board of Health finds and declares that regulations on the use, sale and distribution of tobacco products within the Town of Blackstone are both necessary and reasonable.
Definitions. As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ADEQUATE VENTILATION
- The ventilation rate in a designated smoking area shall conform to the current American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers' (ASHRAE) recommendation for a smoking lounge [a ventilation rate of 30 cubic feet per minute (cfm) occupancy of no more than seven people per 100 square feet of net occupied space].
- Any freestanding establishment which does not allow the entry of any person under the age of 21 years and is primarily dedicated to the serving of alcoholic beverages for the consumption of guests on the premises and in which the serving of food is only incidental to the consumption of such beverages.
- Any packaging that includes two or more packages of tobacco products or any single package of tobacco product combined with another product.
- Any individual person who performs services for an employer in return for wages or profit.
- Any individual person, partnership, association, corporation, trust or other organized group of individuals or an agency thereof which utilizes the services of two or more employees.
- A person under the age of 18.
- MUNICIPAL BUILDING
- A building owned, leased or rented by the Blackstone Town government.
- NONPROFIT AGENCY
- Any individual, partnership, corporation or other entity that provides goods or services on a not-for-profit basis.
- NONSMOKING AREA
- Any area that is designated and posted by the proprietor or any person in charge or a place where smoking by patrons, employees or other persons is prohibited.
- PUBLIC PLACE
- An enclosed indoor area that is used by or otherwise accessible by the general public, except for exclusions as defined in § 188A-4E and including but not limited to the following facilities:
- (1) Auditoriums.
- (2) Customer service areas in automobile sales rooms, dealerships, repair shops and service stations, bank and automatic teller machine (ATM) lobbies, gasoline stations, video stores and retail stores.
- (3) Clinics and other health care facilities.
- (4) Private clubs, rooms and halls when used for public meetings or gatherings.
- (5) Common areas of apartment buildings and condominiums.
- (6) Elevators accessible to the public.
- (7) Entranceways accessible to the public.
- (8) Hallways accessible to the public.
- (9) Indoor stairwells accessible to the public.
- (10) Game arcades.
- (11) Grocery store, supermarket and convenience stores.
- (12) Hair salons, barber shops and cosmetology establishments.
- (13) Health and fitness centers.
- (14) Indoor sports arenas.
- (15) Laundromats.
- (16) Licensed child care locations including child care homes.
- (17) Museums and galleries.
- (18) Nursing homes.
- (19) Places of public worship.
- (20) Public rest rooms.
- (21) Schools and other educational facilities.
- (22) Theaters or other facilities used for a stage production, play, lecture, musical recital or other similar performance, except when smoking is part of said performance.
- Any establishment serving food for consumption on the premises. This includes cafeterias and cafeterias in the workplace.
- RETAIL STORE
- Any establishment selling goods, articles or personal services to the public.
- SEATING CAPACITY
- That capacity designated in the occupancy permit of a restaurant.
- SELF-SERVE DISPLAY
- Any device used to dispense any type of tobacco product to the consumer in a self-service manner.
- The possession of a lighted tobacco product, including a cigarette, cigar, pipe or any other lighted nicotine or tobacco delivery mechanism.
- TOBACCO PRODUCT
- Includes but is not limited to cigarettes, cigarette rolling papers, cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff or tobacco in any of its forms.
- TOBACCO VENDING MACHINE
- Any machine or device designated for or used for the vending of cigarettes, cigars, tobacco or tobacco products upon the insertion of coins, trade checks or slugs or any other form of payment.
- Includes but is not limited to an enclosed area in which one or more employees perform services for their employer. The workplace also includes conference rooms, elevators, employee lounges, entrances, hallways, rest rooms and stairways.
Sales permit required.
No person or entity shall sell tobacco products at retail within the Town of Blackstone without applying for a tobacco sales permit issued by the Board of Health.
The tobacco sales permit shall not be issued until the applicant (i.e., owner/manager) reads the Board of Health regulations and MGL c. 270, §§ 6, 6A and 7 regarding the sale of tobacco and tobacco products. The applicant shall then sign a statement on the application stating that s/he understands and will uphold the regulations. It shall be the responsibility of the permit holder to instruct all employees on the sale of tobacco products to minors.
The tobacco sales permit must be displayed no higher than six feet and no lower than four feet, in a clear and unobstructed view, behind the cash register receiving the highest volume of tobacco product sales.
A retail tobacco vendor permit is nontransferable. A new permit will be issued to a vendor who changes retail locations.
Expiration and renewal of permit.
The tobacco sales permit is issued on January 1.
The permit shall expire no later than one year from the date issued.
An annual tobacco sales permit may be renewed by applying at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the permit. Application for a permit shall be made in writing on a form provided by the Blackstone Board of Health.
Conditions. The issuance of a permit does not relieve the retail tobacco vendor of its responsibility to fully comply with all rules and regulations as set forth herein and as may be amended.
Employee pledge. No person holding a valid retail tobacco vendor permit shall allow any employee to sell cigarettes or any other tobacco products until such employees read a copy of the Board of Health regulations and state laws regarding tobacco sales to minors, and said employee signs a form attesting to the fact that s/he has read and understands said regulations. These forms will be kept on file by the vendor.
Sales to minors. In conformance with MGL c. 270, §§ 6 and 6A, the sale of cigarettes, cigarette rolling papers, chewing tobacco, snuff or any tobacco product in any of its forms to any person under the age of 18 shall be prohibited in the Town of Blackstone. Similarly, it shall be prohibited in the Town of Blackstone that anyone not being his parent or guardian gives a cigarette, cigarette rolling paper, chewing tobacco, snuff or tobacco in any of its forms to any person under the age of 18.
The Board of Health shall enforce this regulation, MGL c. 270, §§ 6 and 6A, through periodic inspections conducted by the Board of Health or its enforcement officer(s) or designee(s). Inspections may be conducted each quarter or more frequently at the discretion of the Board of Health and in cooperation with the Blackstone Police Department.
The Blackstone Board of Health shall issue the following fines to the violator or the tobacco sales permit holder (i.e., owner/manager), or both, or suspend/revoke a permit to sell tobacco and tobacco products after notice, in writing, and the opportunity to be heard.
In the case of the first violation of this section, the violator or the tobacco sales permit holder (i.e., owner/manager), or both, shall be fined $100.
In the case of the second violation of this section, the violator or the tobacco sales permit holder (i.e., owner/manager), or both, shall be fined $200, and the permit to sell tobacco and tobacco products shall be suspended for 30 calendar business days from the date of suspension.
In the case of the third violation of this section, the violator or the tobacco sales permit holder (i.e., owner/manager), or both, shall be fined $300, and the permit to sell tobacco and tobacco products shall be suspended for 60 calendar business days from the date of suspension.
In the case of a fourth violation and all subsequent violations, the violator or the tobacco sales permit holder (i.e., owner/manager), or both, shall be fined $300, and will be required to appear before the Board of Health at which time the permit to sell tobacco and tobacco products may be permanently revoked.
Posting state law. In conformance with MGL c. 270, § 7, a copy of MGL c. 270, § 6 shall be posted conspicuously by the owner thereof in the shop or other place used to sell cigarettes at retail. The notice to be posted shall be that provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Such notice shall be at least 48 square inches and shall be posted at the cash register which receives the greatest volume of cigarette package sales in such a manner so that it may be readily seen by a person standing at or approaching the cash register. Such notice shall directly face the purchaser and shall not be obstructed from view or placed at a height of less than four feet or greater than nine feet from the floor. For all other cash registers that sell cigarettes a notice shall be attached which is no smaller than nine square inches, which is the size of the sign provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and available from the Blackstone Board of Health. Such notice shall be posted in a manner so that it may be readily seen by a person standing at or approaching the cash register. Such notice shall directly face the purchaser and shall not be obstructed from view or placed at a height of no less than 4 feet or more than nine feet from the floor. Whoever violates this provision shall be fined $50.
No retailer shall sell or permit to be sold cigarettes or other tobacco products to an individual without requesting and examining photographic identification establishing the purchaser's age as 18 years.
On February 1, 1997, sections of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Regulations concerning tobacco products will go into effect. Section 897.14(b) states in part:
As of February 1, 1997, you are required, by federal law, to check the identification of everyone who looks 26 years old or younger.
Self-service displays. Freestanding/self-service displays of cigarettes and all other tobacco products from which individual packages or cartons may be selected by the customer are prohibited.
Sale of individual cigarettes. The sale of individual cigarettes is prohibited. Sale or distribution of tobacco products in any form other than an original factory-wrapped package is prohibited.
Vending machines. As of September 15, 1997, cigarette vending machines or any other device for the sale or distribution of tobacco products shall be prohibited in the Town of Blackstone except in locations where children under the age of 18 are denied access in which case a vending machine must be equipped with a lockout device.
Public places. Smoking or the use of any tobacco product is prohibited in the Town of Blackstone in any public place as defined in § 188A-1D.
Restaurants. Smoking or the use of any tobacco product is prohibited in the Town of Blackstone in all restaurants as defined in § 188A-1D except:
Where the smoking or use of any tobacco product is confined to a designated area. Said designated area:
Shall be equipped with a ventilation system which provides adequate ventilation as defined in § 188A-1D;
Shall comprise no more than 30% of the total indoor seating capacity of the restaurant;
Shall not require patrons to pass through it to utilize rest rooms, entrance ways or lobbies; and
Shall not include rest rooms, entranceways, lobbies or food preparation areas.
Municipal buildings. Smoking in any entranceway, stairwell, hallway or room of any municipal building in the Town of Blackstone is prohibited.
Workplace. All workplaces located within the Town of Blackstone which allow smoking must provide a separately enclosed, adequately ventilated, designated smoking area. This designated area shall exclude rest rooms and other traditionally shared spaces such as lunch or break rooms.
Exclusions. Notwithstanding any other provision of these regulations, the following areas shall not be subject to the smoking restrictions of these regulations:
All establishments, including but not limited to municipal buildings, restaurants, workplaces and public places, as defined in § 188A-1D, shall post conspicuously on all outer openings, accessible to the public notice of a smoke-free environment.
All establishments listed in § 188A-4E(1), (2) and (3) wishing to sponsor a fund-raiser, charity, sports team banquet or other related event within their establishment involving persons under the age of 18 must post and enforce notice of a smoke-free environment between indicated times of the event.
Notices referred to in § 188A-4F(1), (2) and (3) shall be posted conspicuously and shall not be smaller than nine square inches (three inches by three inches). Notices referred to in § 188-4F(4) shall be conspicuously posted and shall not be smaller than 93.5 square inches (8.5 inches by 11 inches).
Enforcement; inspections; violations. The Board of Health shall enforce these regulations through periodic inspections conducted by the Board of Health or its enforcement officer(s) or designee(s) and in cooperation with the Blackstone Police Department. Inspections may be conducted each quarter or more frequently at the discretion of the Board of Health. Any complaints by an individual shall be in writing and filed with the Board of Health. In the case of violations of these regulations regarding public places, municipal buildings and workplaces, the violator or the establishment owner/permit holder, or both, shall be fined accordingly. In the case of violations of these regulations in other cases, the owner/permit holder shall be fined accordingly.
Severability. If any provision, clause, sentence or paragraph of this regulation or the application thereof to any person or circumstance shall be held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the provision of this chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions are declared to be severable.
Effective date. These regulations shall be effective as of September 15, 1997.