[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Barre Board of Health 12-23-1991; revised 4-28-1997; 5-12-1997. Amendments noted where applicable.]
There exists substantial evidence that tobacco is the major cause of preventable deaths in the United States.
Nicotine is an addictive drug and addiction to nicotine usually begins during childhood and adolescence.
The free distribution of tobacco products and the availability of self service tobacco products have been demonstrated to result in the unlawful distribution of tobacco to minors.
The Barre Board of Health adopts these regulations pursuant to MGL c. 111, §§ 31 and 31A, to protect and improve the health of the residents of the Town of Barre and to prevent violations of Massachusetts state law prohibiting the provision of tobacco products to minors.
As used in these regulations, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any individual under 18 years of age.
- Any natural person or any firm, partnership, company, corporation or other entity.
- TOBACCO PRODUCT
- Any product containing tobacco, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipe tobacco, and smokeless tobacco.
- VENDING MACHINE
- Any self-service device which, upon insertion of money, tokens, or any other form of payment, dispenses tobacco, cigarettes, or any other tobacco product.
No person shall sell any tobacco product unless that person holds a valid retail tobacco permit obtained from the Barre Board of Health. Such permit shall be renewed annually at a cost of $5. Before a tobacco permit is issued to an individual, that individual must first read and understand all of the provisions of these regulations. A separate permit shall be required for each place of business.
A permit is not required to sell tobacco products from a vending machine; however, all operators of tobacco vending machines shall be required to pay an annual registration fee of $5 for each machine from which tobacco products are sold.
All tobacco vendors shall additionally be required to pay an annual inspection fee of $20 for each location at which tobacco is sold. This fee will be waived when the Barre Board of Health is not conducting its own inspections.
It shall be unlawful to sell, give, or furnish tobacco in any form to any individual under 18 years of age.
No free samples of tobacco or tobacco products shall be distributed in Barre. This restriction does not apply to "buy one get one free" offers or to the redemption of coupons in stores.
No person shall sell tobacco by use of a vending machine, or install or maintain a tobacco vending machine with the intent of making such sales, except as provided in the following subsections:
Vending machines are permitted if they are equipped with a lockout device which prevents the machine from being operated until the person responsible for monitoring sales from the machine disables the lock. The locking device must be of a design which prevents it from being left in an unlocked condition, and which will allow only a single sale when it is unlocked.
In addition, a vending machine is allowed only in establishments where a responsible person will be present to monitor the machine when the establishment is open.
Any vending machine permissible under Subsections A and B must be placed in a location approved by the Board of Health. Such machines shall be located well within a premises and close enough to the person controlling the machine that such person can determine the age of any person requesting permission to use the machine.
No sales of tobacco are permitted from a vending machine which also offers for sale any nontobacco product.
Any person who sells tobacco products, or who is responsible for monitoring sales from a tobacco vending machine, shall request of any customer who is not obviously 18 years of age or older a photographic identification establishing their age. Positive proof of age must be established before any sale of tobacco is made.
Tobacco retailers shall conspicuously post and reasonably maintain the following notices as described in this section at each cash register where tobacco products are sold:
Signs shall be available from the Board of Health at no charge, from a tobacco trade industry or from the Tobacco Alliance.
No person shall sell tobacco products to a person under 18 years of age who has a note from an adult requesting such a sale.
All tobacco products must be issued by the clerk on duty. Freestanding displays must be enclosed from public access. Broken pack sales of cigarettes are prohibited. Cigarettes must be sold in their original sealed packaging.
Tobacco permit holders shall be responsible for training all employees regarding their responsibilities under these regulations. Each employee involved with tobacco sales shall read these regulations. Permit holders may obtain a written statement from each employee acknowledging that the employee has been given and has read and understands these regulations.
These regulations shall be enforced through periodic inspections conducted by the Health Department, the Police Department, constables, or agents thereof, including the Tobacco Alliance. These inspections shall include attempted purchases of tobacco products by individuals under 18 years of age under the supervision of an agent of the enforcing agency. Such inspections shall not be considered "entrapment." Inspections will be conducted a minimum of three times each year. Inspections may be conducted more frequently at the discretion of the enforcing agency. The results of these inspections shall be presented to the Board of Health on a regular basis.
Violations of §§ 307-3, 307-4, 307-5, 307-6, and 307-9, shall be punishable by a fine and/or a suspension or revocation of the violator's tobacco sales permit. A first offense is punishable by a fine of $100 or a suspension of the tobacco permit for a period of one day; a second offense within a two-year period shall be punishable by a fine of $200 or a one-week suspension; a third offense within a two year period shall be punishable by a fine of $300 or a permit suspension of 30 days. Any subsequent offenses may be punishable by a fine of $300 or the revocation of the tobacco permit. A revoked permit may not be reinstated for a period of one year. The Board of Health may, at its discretion, issue a warning in lieu of either a fine or permit suspension for a first offense. Violations of § 307-6 shall be assessed against the owner of the vending machine. Any fine will be assessed against the person who holds the tobacco permit, unless that person can demonstrate that the employee who violated these regulations was properly trained as per § 307-12. If such evidence is presented to the Board of Health, the Board may, at its discretion, require that the employee pay up to 1/2 of the fine, with the remainder to be paid by the permit holder.
The Health Department and the Police Department shall have jurisdiction to enforce these regulations. Such authority may be delegated to agents working under their authority in either a paid or voluntary capacity.
The Health Department shall respond to any requests from tobacco retailers for assistance in training sales personnel. The Health Officer shall provide copies of these regulations to tobacco retailers for the purpose of training their employees.
Minors are forbidden from using or possessing tobacco on school property, on school buses and in public places as stated in Chapter 306, § 306-3, Definitions, including public ways. School personnel may confiscate any tobacco possessed by a minor in the school locations and may report violations to the Board of Health. The Board of Health (and members and agent) and the Police Department officers may confiscate any tobacco possessed by a minor in these locations. Minors under the age of 18 are forbidden from purchasing or attempting to purchase cigarettes or tobacco products. Merchants may report violators to the Board of Health. Violations of this section shall be punishable by a fine of $25 or a requirement to perform five hours of community service. The Board of Health members at a regularly scheduled Board of Health meeting will determine the type of community service that is acceptable. Both the fine and community service will be waived for a first offense if the minor completes a smoking cessation course approved by the Board of Health.
If any provision of these regulations is declared invalid, the other provisions shall not be affected thereby, but shall continue in full force and effect.
These regulations will go into effect 30 days after being approved by the Board of Health, with the exception of § 307-6, which shall go into effect 90 days after being approved.