Amherst board of health restricts tobacco sales - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Amherst board of health restricts tobacco sales

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It will soon be more difficult to buy cigarettes in town, as the board of health passed new rules on Wednesday as to what businesses can sell tobacco.

Town Manager John Musante believes the new rules, which go into effect on Oct. 1, will have a positive impact on the community. He said the idea is that children will have less access to cigarettes.

The new regulations prohibit tobacco products from being sold in pharmacies. It mainly affects the two CVS stores in town.

"They sell candy, lots of sugar, they sell potato chips and lots of junk food," said Frances Soto, an Amherst resident. "When are they going to get rid of that?"

Soto was one of several residents CBS 3 spoke with who are against the new rules. While the government may be thinking of children, Soto believes they are overlooking the older population.

"In my building, there are 80-year-old people with this addiction to cigarette smoking and you are going to stop them short," said Soto. "What are you going to do to help them? You going to hand them that make believe caffeine smoking thing?"

Dhanesh Patel owns Cousins' Markets on East Pleasant Street. His store will not be affected by the new rules, but Patel does not expect to see an increase in foot traffic. He said that is due to the recent tax increase on cigarettes.

"Since the prices went up on the cigarettes, and all tobacco product, that's going to impact everybody," said Patel, who has owned the shop for over a decade.

He said he has already seen significant reduction in tobacco sales over the last year.

"The wages are not going up," Patel stated. "So people have the same amount of dollars to spend. So, it's either they buy one pack of cigarettes or half a pack. So that's where it's going to go."

CBS 3 reached out to CVS headquarters in Rhode Island on Thursday for their response to the rules.

While they would not comment on the financial impact of losing tobacco sales, they said they will abide by the rules when they go into effect in October.

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