FOXBORO — Led by a local pediatrician, Foxboro parents have petitioned the board of health to ban all flavored vaping materials from retail outlets in town.
Vaping, or e-cigarettes, is the inhalation of nicotine-spiked vapor from heated pods containing fluid.
Originally intended as a way to quit smoking, local school and health authorities say it has become widespread among high school and middle school students who are becoming addicted to the nicotine.
Mansfield High School has gone so far as to remove the exterior doors between hallways and restrooms as a way of preventing vaping in restrooms.
Dr. Lester Hartman of Westwood-Mansfield Pediatrics Associates started the Foxboro petition drive and obtained 221 signatures. It was presented to the health board Monday evening.
He has also produced a video in which he talks about what he sees as the dangers of vaping, particularly the use of a product called JUUL.
He said it is not only addictive, but causes the inhalation of food products not meant for the lungs.
JUUL has announced it will stop selling flavored vaping material in retail outlets.
The restrictions called for in the petition would exempt smoke shops that serve only people age 21 and older.
Hartman’s petition states: “As parents of children in the Town of Foxboro, we insist that our Board of Health restrict flavored nicotine and tobacco products immediately, only allowing their sale in smoke and vape shops that are 21+ to enter. We do not want our children exposed to these dangerous and addictive products when they go into our local convenience stores.
“Across the state, 136 Boards of Health covering over 59 percent of the state’s population have signed onto this flavored nicotine and tobacco restriction. Given the current nicotine addiction epidemic in our middle and high schools, it is this board’s duty to look out for our children and attempt to remedy this situation.”
The ban would not apply to mint and menthol flavors.
Hartman said he believes boards of health are becoming more aware of the dangers.
Health director Pauline Zajdel said the board will consider the petition at a later date.
The board also fined the Sunoco gasoline station on Main Street $200 for selling a JUUL pod to an underage girl, Zajdel said.
She said the town conducted a round of compliance checks on Nov. 11 using a 17-year-old female. The girl asked for JUUL pods at stores that sold them, and cigarettes at the stores that did not. She got one sale, Zajdel said, the Sunoco station.
Zajdel said it is a second offense for the store.
She said the owner is Ali Honroj. He could not be reached for comment by The Sun Chronicle. He has until Dec. 4 to pay the fine.