Cumberland Farms Calls for 'Unambiguous' Tobacco Regs

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Massachusetts has been referred to by the National Association of Tobacco Outlets as a hotbed when it comes to tobacco legislation. Now, one convenience store retailer is speaking out for clear rules.

In a letter to state House of Representatives legislators, Cumberland Farms Inc. urged members to adopt "clear and unambiguous" tobacco regulations, according to the Taunton Daily Gazette. The letter was signed by more than 1,000 managers and store employees of the convenience store chain said workers want their tobacco compliance efforts to be "second-nature."

"But as it stands now, we are instead forced to juggle hundreds of different and constantly-changing local requirements related to pricing, packaging, signage, product bans, licensing display methods, age verification procedure, employee training, recordkeeping, disposal plans and more," the letter said.

The clarification request comes as Massachusetts legislators consider increasing the state minimum age to buy tobacco to 21. The state Senate has already approved the move. In addition, several local municipalities have already passed similar legislation but others still have the minimum age at 18.

In addition to raising the legal age to buy tobacco products, the proposed tobacco bill (S 2269/H 4361) includes a ban on tobacco sales at pharmacies and electronic cigarette regulations, according to the news outlet.

Cumberland Farms takes no position on hiking the tobacco age, but notes that current versions of the bill would not prevent cities and towns from additionally raising it. The bill, company executives write in a second letter, "would provide no meaningful relief" to the "increasingly chaotic patchwork of municipal regulations."

Framingham-based Cumberland Farms operates a network of 600-plus convenience stores across eight states. 

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