The Adams Board of Health may consider placing a cap on tobacco establishments in town.  reports Board of Health member David Rhoads broached the subject at Wednesday's meeting of limiting the number of stores that can sell tobacco to help curb over-saturation and access for teens.
"I don't have a proposal but I would ask that we consider this and imagine what information we would like to have," he said. "I want to do this but I want to do it right."
Rhoads said he thought currently the town had around seven establishments that sold cigarettes and other tobacco products with more potentially in the pipeline.
He said the state Department of Public Health had no clear recommendation for capping tobacco establishments in a community but reiterated that the younger people start smoking the more likely they are to continue it into adulthood.
He said this aligned with his thoughts and his main goal as a Board of Health member would be to limit access to teenagers.
Rhoads presented a few possibilities that included setting a straight cap on tobacco sales or implementing a cap with attrition to decrease the number already in town.
He said another option would be to always allow one more establishment than what the town has but have a thorough review process that considers surroundings. He said they could limit establishments near schools or other like establishments.
Town Administrator Jay Green, who attended the meeting, was the former chairman of the Board of Health in Pittsfield and noted the city did the same thing a few years ago and it was not the easiest process.
He said the town needs to find a balance between limiting access to youth while allowing adult uses.
He said a policy not considered fully could limit potential business or development that may be connected to tobacco or smoking.
Green said all in all limiting tobacco sales detracts from economic development and although business are encouraged to diversify sales many often lean on selling cigarettes.


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