With Gov. Baker’s Signature,… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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With Gov. Baker’s Signature, Massachusetts Becomes First State to End the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
November 27, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Delivering a landmark victory for kids and public health over the tobacco industry, Gov. Charlie Baker today signed a new law that makes Massachusetts the first state in the nation to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes.

The Massachusetts law is a major milestone in the fight to reverse the worsening e-cigarette epidemic and stop tobacco companies from targeting and addicting kids with flavored products. At a time when the Trump Administration may be backing off its proposal to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes, Massachusetts is sending a powerful message that states and communities cannot wait and will not wait to protect the health of our children. Other states should quickly follow their example.

This 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. The evidence shows that menthol makes it easier for kids to start smoking and harder for smokers to quit. The Massachusetts law helps put an end to the tobacco industry’s long and harmful history of targeting kids and African Americans with menthol cigarettes.

The Massachusetts law provides a major boost for the growing national movement to end the sale of flavored tobacco products. We salute this historic action and the example it provides for states and cities across the nation.

We applaud Gov. Baker for his leadership in signing this bill into law. We also applaud the lawmakers who led the Massachusetts effort – Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, Senate President Karen Spilka, Senate sponsor John Keenan, House sponsor Danielle Gregoire – as well as the youth, parents, educators, medical providers and many others who advocated for the new law.