WESTFIELD, NJ – The Westfield Board of Health once again discussed raising the age requirement to purchase nicotine products from 19 to 21 at the board’s meeting on Monday night.

More than 20 municipalities in the state have approved similar ordinances. The age limit would apply to cigarettes, e-cigarettes, hookahs and more, if approved.

“Studies have shown that ordinances like this have the biggest effect on 14- and 15-year-olds,” health officer Megan Avallone said.

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They may also include a stipulation that allows the board to suspend the retail food establishment license of a store that’s caught selling nicotine products to underage customers for three days. Establishments such as gas stations that sell beverages and liquor stores have a retail food establishment license and would be included.

“Maybe the food license suspension will work better [than just a violation fine],” board member Andrew Kirna said.

The board has not yet voted on the issue, but tentatively expects to do so in June.

In addition, the board also discussed an expected increase in rat complaints as the weather gets warmer.

“We’ve had lots of construction every year,” Lawrence D. Bunick, acting president of the board, said. (Board president Thomas K. O’Neill was not present). “When construction disturbs the ground, it tends to rile up the rats.”

The board also discussed the addition of an eyebrow microblading establishment in Westfield. Microbladng is a technique that uses about 15 small needles to tattoo eyebrows, Helen Mendez, principal registered environmental health specialist, said.

Three different companies have expressed serious interest in opening a microblading practice in Westfield, Mendez said. However, none of the businesses have yet to comply with the state body art code.

“People take a course and think they can go out and do it, but there’s a lot of different requirements,” Mendez said.

The state has been working with the Board of Cosmetology and the American Academy of Micropigmentation to put a code together about microblading, according to Mendez.   

The next Board of Health meeting will be held on June 5 at 5:30 p.m.