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Gov. Baker Right to Declare Public Health Emergency Over E-Cigarettes; Legislature Must Do Its Part by Banning All Flavored Tobacco Products

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
September 24, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker deserves credit for recognizing that Massachusetts and the nation face a public health emergency due to the worsening epidemic of youth e-cigarette use and the hundreds of cases of serious respiratory illnesses associated with use of e-cigarette products. Gov. Baker today announced a four-month statewide ban on the sale of vaping products.

Governor Baker’s action is not permanent. We urge the Massachusetts Legislature to step up and do its part by enacting permanent solutions to this public health crisis. The Legislature should approve legislation to prohibit all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes. The evidence is clear that flavored e-cigarettes are driving the youth epidemic. Eliminating flavored e-cigarettes would greatly reduce the number of young people at risk. We also urge the state legislature to go further to protect Massachusetts’ kids. Half of all youth smokers – including 7 out of 10 African-American youth smokers – smoke menthol cigarettes. Therefore, in addition to acting to end the youth e-cigarette epidemic, the legislature should also stop tobacco companies from luring and addicting kids with flavored products once and for all.