Close the Loopholes in MA Law
The Coalition for Responsible Retailing asks that lawmakers and public health officials in Massachusetts immediately adopt the model regulations below:
1. Impose a fine on enabling adults that provide tobacco products to persons under the minimum legal sales age.
2. Add language to regulations that specifically makes it illegal for minors to purchase tobacco products.
3. Implement education programs for underage minors in possession of tobacco or nicotine delivery products.
4. Remove the exception for parents and legal guardians to give tobacco products to their children who are under the legal age of purchase.
These regulations will:
- Hold adults who provide tobacco or nicotine products to minors accountable.
- Help minors who access, possess and use tobacco and nicotine products break the habit before it starts.
- Support local retailers’ ability to focus on doing their part to prevent tobacco and nicotine products from getting into the hands of minors.
- Protect the rights of adults who chose to purchase legal adult products.
- Protect local retailers’ ability to serve the local community needs.
CRR requests that local Boards of Health make the following specific amendments to their existing tobacco regulations:
Also, insert the following sections:
§XXX.XX Purchase for or providing tobacco products to minors.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any individual to purchase any tobacco product on behalf of, or to give any tobacco product to, any individual under the minimum legal sales age. The terms of this section shall not apply to an employee who, in the course of their employment and as a part of their employment duties, sells tobacco products.
(b) An individual who violates subsection (a) shall be liable for a civil penalty of:
- not less than $100 for the first violation;
- not less than $200 for the second violation; and
- not less than $300 for any third or subsequent violation.
§XXX.XY Purchase or possession of tobacco products by persons under the minimum legal sales age; use of false identification.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any individual under the minimum legal sales age to
- purchase a tobacco product, possess a tobacco product, or to attempt to purchase or possess a tobacco product. This subdivision shall not apply to any individual engaged in law enforcement activity in accordance with enforcement of minimum age laws, or to any individual who is handling or transporting a tobacco product under the terms of his or her employment.
- present or offer any form of identification as proof of age which is false, fraudulent or not actually the individual’s own form of identification, for the purpose of purchasing or attempting to purchase or possess a tobacco product.
(b) An individual who violates subsections (1) or (2) shall forfeit any tobacco products in his or her possession and
- For a first violation, receive a verbal and written warning or, at the individual’s option, voluntarily enroll in and participate in a tobacco cessation program administered by the board of health.
- For a second violation within one year of the first violation, attend a smoking education program administered by the board of health. If the violator does not complete the tobacco cessation program within a two-month period from the date of the violation, a fine of one hundred dollars shall be imposed.
- For a third or subsequent violation within one year of the first violation, a fine of $100 shall be imposed.
(c) In addition to those penalties provided in subsection (b), an individual who violates subsection (a)(2) shall forfeit any false or fraudulent form of identification and any other form of identification not his or her own in the individual’s possession to any law enforcement officer upon request.
§ XXX.XZ Enforcement.
The provisions of §§XXX.XX and XXX.XY shall be enforced pursuant to the provisions of General Laws Ch. 40, Section 21D and this code by the police department in cooperation with the board of health.