Next week, Springfield, Massachusetts-based Big Y will raise the minimum age to buy any tobacco products in all of its 80 locations.
As of June 17, customers under the age of 21 will no longer be able to buy tobacco products at any Big Y World Class Market or supermarket, Fresh Acres Market, Table & Vine or Big Y Express Fuel & Convenience locations. E-cigarettes and vaping products are only sold in the convenience store division and not in any of the markets.
In compliance with Massachusetts state law, the company has already implemented this age requirement in all of its locations within this state as of January 1. In Connecticut, the legislature is planning on a similar requirement as of October 2019. The company has taken the initiative to get ahead of this law in order to have a consistent policy for all of the stores across the two states.
According to tobaccofreekids.org, “Increasing the minimum age for tobacco products to 21 is important to reduce smoking and other tobacco use among youth and saves lives.” With this initiative, Big Y has joined several other states and municipalities to help prevent underage tobacco use.
As part of this new policy, Big Y has re-emphasized training programs to reinforce proper age verification through the use of electronic age validation systems, computerized training programs for all cashiers, an easy-reference calendar to verify age 21 as well as signs in several key areas throughout each location.
According to Big Y CEO Charles L. D’Amour, “For years, we have been diligent in helping families keep cigarettes and tobacco products out of the hands of children. As responsible members of our community, this next step to raise the age to procure all tobacco products to 21 will further protect our families and youth from these products reaching the wrong consumer and end user.”
Big Y Foods Inc. is an independently owned supermarket chain in New England. Big Y operates 80 locations throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut including 70 supermarkets, Fresh Acres Market, Table & Vine Fine Wines and Liquors and 9 Big Y Express gas and convenience locations with more than 11,000 employees.