DENNIS – The Town of Dennis looking at the possibility of moving up the minimum smoking age from 18 to 21.
If the change is approved, it would make Dennis the second town on Cape Cod after its neighbor Yarmouth to make the change. Yarmouth made the change earlier this year.
The Dennis Board of Health is considering the measure in the hopes of discouraging teenage smoking.
Dennis Health Director Terry Hayes says they have been watching Yarmouth and other towns that have made the change.
“Certainly we saw what happened in Yarmouth when Yarmouth raised the age from 18 to 21 and as a member of the [Massachusetts] Health Officers Association, I’ve heard from other communities on the issues they have and as of right now it’s relatively quiet,” Hayes said.
Hayes says the law would also include restrictions in the sale of e-cigarettes.
He said the board understands that retailers would be affected by the change. “Without a doubt, they will take a hit and I suspect there will be push-back. That’s something that we’re going to have to look at and listen to,” he said.
The next step for the board is to hold hearings on the change.
“The Board of Health would have to hold public hearings on it. They would recommend to the board of selectmen to amend the bylaw to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21 and it would then have to be passed at the Annual Town Meeting in May,” Hayes said.