Whitman review of tobacco regs continues
By Tracy F. Seelye, Express editor
WHITMAN — For communities grappling with revisions to tobacco control regulations, questions over how pharmacies will be affected remain a concern.
Whitman’s Board of Health finds issue with the point and will ask Cheryl Sbarra, senior staff attorney for the Mass. Association of Health Boards to attend a meeting — either Aug. 19 or Sept. 2 — to help clear up those questions. Sbarra is also the MAHB’s director of tobacco prevention and cessation and the chronic disease prevention programs.
“Everybody is on the bandwagon here, I think,” said Chairman Eric Joubert, RN. “We’re looking to regulate nicotine in all its forms. … I think everybody is concerned as to what each town’s going to do.”
He said the major concern of the Whitman Board as recently as May was the definition of “health care institution” in which the sale of tobacco products would be banned. They also want to know if pharmacy sales of smoking-cessation products —that incorporate a nicotine delivery system to help wean smokers of the habit — are also prohibited.
“Nicotine delivery products are included in the sales ban, which means you can’t go to a drugstore and get the patch to quit smoking, which is crazy,” Joubert said. “The big concern is legitimate nicotine replacement — not the e-cigarettes.”
Board Administrative Assistant Elaine White noted the panel has been advised that consultation with clients concerning over-the-counter remedies such as smoking cessation materials is a key component to the training of pharmacists.
“Pharmacists play a key role in smoking cessation because [customers] don’t have to go to the doctor’s — they can discuss it with a pharmacist,” Williams said the board has been advised previously. “You really only want to visit this once.”
Board member Barbara White and her colleagues agreed, and she stressed the importance of inviting Sbarra to help clarify the issue.
“It was March when she came here and they’ve done so much more since then,” White said.
While the board was most concerned with the smoking-cessation materials, they also worry about the attraction flavored e-cigarette juices have for underage youths.
“It’s just that all these new things coming out look so good to the young people,” said board member Diane MacNeil, RN.
“It’s important that all of the surrounding towns are on the same page so people aren’t hopping from town to town,” said White.
In other business, the board expressed concern about the number of dogs planned to be cared for at a proposed dog day care at 51 Bedford St., and will meet with the applicants. Key questions the board has regarding the proposal to handle from 15 to 20 dogs in a 22-by-24-foot holding room and fenced-in yard center on adequate space and waste disposal.
Representatives of Dunkin’ Donuts will, at an Aug. 5 meeting outline via conference call, a pilot program proposed for Whitman stores in which food waste is converted to gray water for disposal in the municipal wastewater system. DPW representatives will be invited to the meeting.
Starting in October, food waste will be banned from the state’s solid waste stream.