The town of Canton is considering new rules making it tougher to sell tobacco products.
Under proposed regulations being reviewed by the local Board of Health, no new stores would be permitted to sell tobacco products, with some exceptions, such as when a store is sold to a new owner, or if someone wants to open a store to exclusively sell electronic cigarettes, said John Ciccotelli, director of public health.
“The ultimate goal is to slowly, over time, reduce the number of tobacco permits, without inconveniencing the store owners who invested in it,” Ciccotelli said.
In cases where a store that already sells tobacco products is sold to a new owner, the new owner can reapply for a permit within 60 days of the sale. The permit will not be automatically transferred, Ciccotelli said.
If an entrepreneur wants to open a store to sell electronic cigarettes, he or she can apply for a permit. The town plans to grant only one for this purpose. If no one applies for it by Dec. 31, 2018, the permit will no longer be available, he said.
Stores would also face tougher penalties for selling to minors, such as a longer probationary period for a violation, during which a series of offenses would trigger loss of a tobacco permit. The number of violations that would cause a business to lose its tobacco license would drop from four to three.
The town decided to tighten up its tobacco regulations after a sting more than a year ago caught eight stores selling to minors, Ciccotelli said. There are 24 stores with permits for tobacco sales in Canton.
A public hearing on the proposals will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14, in the Salah Meeting Room in Canton Memorial Hall, 801 Washington St.