Massachusetts Senate Votes to End… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Massachusetts Senate Votes to End the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Pr​oducts; State Poised to Be First in the Nation Taking Such Action

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
November 20, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Massachusetts Senate delivered a great win for kids over the tobacco industry by voting overwhelmingly today, 32-6, to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes. The House approved the bill last week. We urge Gov. Charlie Baker to sign the bill into law promptly, particularly following the overwhelming votes in both chambers.

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. It would make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

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 action provides a major boost for the growing national movement to end the sale of flavored tobacco products. We thank those who led and supported our Massachusetts work, notably our lead Senate sponsor John Keenan, Senate President Karen Spilka, Sen. Harriette Chandler, Sen. Julian Cyr and Sen. Jason Lewis.

The measure also:

  • Taxes e-cigarettes, bringing parity with cigarettes in the state.
  • Requires state and private insurers to provide coverage for tobacco cessation with no out of pocket costs.
  • Restricts the sale of high-nicotine vapes/e-cigarettes to adult-only retail tobacco stores and smoking bars.
  • Greatly increases the retailer fine for tobacco sales to minors.