DEERFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The minimum age to purchase tobacco in Deerfield has been raised from 18 to 21. The town’s Board of Health voted unanimously on Wednesday night to approve the new ordinance which goes into effect January 1st.

Deerfield will join the Franklin County communities of Sunderland, Whately, Gill, Montague, Leverett, and Greenfield who have all raised the minimum age to 21 for buying tobacco. The new legal age will be posted at all stores that sell tobacco.

Stores who violate the new law will be subject to a $100 fine for their first offense, $200 for the second offense and $300 for a third. The new law also bans tobacco sales near schools, and sales of flavored tobacco products.

“We wanted to discourage young people from beginning to start smoking,” Selectman Kip Komosa explained. “We felt it was an important public safety measure to protect the youth of our commmunity.”

Komosa said the new ordinance will help stop kids from becoming addicted. So far, 140 towns in Massachusetts have changed the legal age to 21.