SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — A proposal by the Springfield Public Health Council calls for banning the sale of tobacco at health care institutions.
Drug stores and pharmacies are considered health care institutions. If passed it will prevent tobacco products from being sold at any CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Walmart, Stop & Shop or Big Y with a pharmacy.
“The goal is to protect the health of minors to protect the health of adults. If you are gonna sell products that heal you wanna make sure that there is no dual message around products that might do harm to the health of the public,” said Helen Caulton-Harris, Director Springfield Health and Human Services.
The proposal is only in draft form. It includes a $300 fine per violation. The Public Health Council will be discussing the proposal further at their next meeting in March. If it gets passed it could take effect within 60 days of being accepted by the Public Health Council.
According to Caulton-Harris the council is also waiting to hear back from the City Solicitor to see if the proposal needs to go before the City Council.
Wednesday night, The Health Council held a hearing on the proposal. Several people spoke in favor of the tobacco ban. A written statement was also submitted by a citizen and the Massachusetts Food Association.
The MFA statement read in part:
“This regulation as proposed merely blocks legal trade of a legal product from a tiny proportion of all retail outlets that sell these products and will only force consumers who wish to continue to purchase them to merely take their business elsewhere,” said Brian Houghton, Mass. Food Association.
Written statements can still be submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services at: 95 State Street, Springfield, MA.