Massachusetts State House Votes to… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Massachusetts State House Votes to End the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
November 13, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Massachusetts House of Representatives delivered a tremendous win for kids over the tobacco industry by voting today to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes. This legislation is a critical step to help end the worsening youth e-cigarette epidemic and stop tobacco companies from using appealing flavors to lure kids into a lifetime of addiction. We urge swift action by the state Senate to approve the same legislation.

Today’s action is urgently needed. According to newly-released data from the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (2019 NYTS), the youth e-cigarette epidemic has gotten even worse in the last year. E-cigarette use among high school students nationwide increased to 27.5% in 2019, compared to 11.7% in 2017 and 20.8% in 2018. Altogether more than 5 million middle and high school students now use e-cigarettes. And the evidence is clear that flavored e-cigarettes have fueled this epidemic – 97% of youth e-cigarette users report using a flavored product in the past month, and 70% cite flavors as the reason for their use.

Flavored products have long been a favorite tobacco industry strategy for targeting kids. In addition to e-cigarettes, flavored cigars have proliferated in recent years and become popular with kids, while more than half of youth smokers – including seven out of ten African-American youth smokers – smoke menthol cigarettes. It’s time to stop tobacco companies from targeting and addicting kids with flavored products once and for all.

The Massachusetts House voted 126-31 to approve the measure. The vote provides a major boost for the growing national movement to end the sale of flavored tobacco products. We thank those who have led and supported the Massachusetts effort, notably Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, Ways and Means Committee Chair Aaron Michelwitz, House bill lead sponsor Danielle Gregoire, and fellow Reps. Marjorie Decker, Andres Vargas and Denise Garlick.