Barnstable County to Receive Funding for Nicotine Prevention

BARNSTABLE – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has announced $5.1 million in funding to discourage nicotine use in communities across the commonwealth.

On Cape Cod, Barnstable County is set to receive $122,000 annually over the next four years.

Under the program, sixteen municipal health departments will work in partnership with neighboring cities and towns to reduce the influence of the tobacco and vaping industries on communities.

Barnstable County Public Health officials will work with local health departments in order to distribute funding to tobacco control and prevention programs.

“When you deal with the tobacco industry, it’s like playing a game of whack-a-mole at a carnival. For every strategy and success we are able to achieve, they come up with another strategy to keep peddling their product to the public, particularly the youth,” said Bob Collett with the Barnstable County Regional Tobacco Control Program.

Mass DPH has been working for two decades to reduce tobacco use across the Bay State and is reporting significant success.

Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel says that despite their progress there is more work left to be done.

“Despite this progress, these awards come at a time when vaping rates among youth are nine times higher than adults,” she said.

Earlier this year, Governor Charlie Baker signed a new law raising the legal age to buy tobacco products statewide from 18 to 21.

The new law broadens existing prohibitions on public smoking to include e-cigarettes and prohibits the use of tobacco products on the grounds of any public or private primary, secondary, or vocational school.

Additionally, pharmacies, hospitals, or other entities that offer health care services or employ any licensed health care providers are prohibited from selling tobacco products.

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