WALLINGFORD — The Town Council may vote Tuesday on whether to raise the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21.
The ordinance committee, made up of all Town Council members, is expected to continue discussions on and review drafts of the proposed ordinance. The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. in the council chamber at Town Hall.
Wallingford would be among the first municipalities to pass an ordinance restricting the sale of tobacco products to anyone under age 21.
In October 2018, Hartford became the first Connecticut municipality to ban selling tobacco products, including vaping devices, to anyone under 21.
The idea for raising the minimum age was introduced during the Town Council’s regular meeting on Oct. 9, 2018, when Coalition for a Better Wallingford presented information on youth vaping, focused on the Juul brand of vaporizer.
Juul, which offers high nicotine capacity and sweet-flavored pods, has been accused by health advocates of targeting teens through social media.
The draft ordinance states that the ages of 18 to 21 are a “critical period” for tobacco use, when smokers move from experimental smoking to regular use, and that most people who are not smokers by age 21 don’t become one later in life.
According to the draft, the town health department would provide retailers with signs stating that the sale of tobacco products to anyone under age 21 is prohibited and that nicotine is highly addictive. The signs would be posted at cash registers, sales counters and on any display of tobacco products.
The police department would be authorized to enforce the ordinance. Penalties for sale violations would start with a written warning, and then progress to a $100 fine for the first offense and $250 for each additional offense.
After three violations within a two-year period by the same seller, the town would be able to start legal action.
The committee will also consider changes to the code of ethics, including updates to definitions surrounding conflicts of interest and how the Board of Ethics is organized and functions.
The committee is also expected to continue talking about whether to require elected officials to participate in Freedom of Information Act training.
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