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November 20, 2013

Changes to tobacco sales proposed

NEWBURYPORT — City officials will hold a public hearing tomorrow night at 7 in the police station conference room at 4 Green St. to discuss proposed regulations to limit tobacco sales in the city.

Robert F. Bracey, director of public health for the city, said the purpose of the meeting is “to allow for public comment on the proposed amended tobacco regulations” that are being considered for alteration.

New language would amend current city Health Department regulations in accordance with state general laws, organizers say.

The proposed changes will allow the city’s Health Department to increase the age of persons buying tobacco from 18 to 21.

It would also restrict the number of tobacco permits issued in the city, and would eliminate the transfer of tobacco permits when there is a change of ownership.

Also, the proposed regulation would abolish the sale of tobacco products and nicotine delivery services in all city healthcare institutions, which are defined as hospitals, clinics, health centers, pharmacies, drug stores, doctors offices and dentist offices.

An informal survey of retail venues in the area indicated that few owners are aware of the proposed changes.

Ann Ormond, president of the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said she is concerned that restricting sales of a retail product could put some merchants under financial duress.

She said that she and other business leaders will attend the hearing to learn more about the proposed changes.

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