Needham, Massachusetts pharmacies will soon not be able to sell tobacco products..

July 15, 2009 - Needham is a town in Norfolk County, in the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy metro area. (Needham is 10 miles southwest of Boston.)

On July 14th the Board of Health voted 2-0 on July 14th in favor of the ban, with one member absent. The ban will go into effect on October 1, 2009. This comes five months after Boston banned cigarettes from pharmacies. The new regulations also include language preventing the sale of non-cigarette tobacco products, including “blunt wraps,” to minors. Board of Health Chairman Stephen Epstein: “We found cigarette sales to be inconsistent with the mission of promoting health. At the same time, Boston proposed its regulations. We realized pharmacies are health-care institutions.”

The technical language in the ban states, “No health-care facility, per our regulations, located in the Town of Needham shall sell or cause to be sold tobacco products.” In addition, it specifically singles out pharmacies in saying, “Additionally, no retail establishment that operates or has a health-care facility within it, such as a pharmacy or drug store, shall sell or cause to be sold tobacco products."

The new regulations also include language specifically regulating the sale of tobacco products aside from cigarettes to minors. This includes “blunt wraps.” These wraps, which are designed to hold loose tobacco, are often made with tobacco and may be appealing to children, Epstein said. The new blunt wrap regulation in Needham only bans the sale to minors under 21, unlike Boston, which recently banned the sale of blunt wraps altogether.

“Some are flavored, colorful and are essentially aimed at kids,” Epstein said. “It’s something we wanted the new regulations to include.”

The Needham Health Department plans to work with schools to educate children about those products.

San Francisco has also banned the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies starting on October 1, 2008.

Reference: Needham bans cigarette sales in pharmacies by Steven Ryan, Wicked Local Needham, 7/14/2009.