BOSTON, November 27, 2019 — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker today signed into law the nation’s most far-reaching policy to eliminate flavored tobacco products, which are proven to appeal to kids and increase their likelihood of nicotine addiction.
The law makes Massachusetts the first state in the country to eliminate the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including mint and menthol. The law also imposes an excise tax on all e-cigarettes, which have dramatically risen in popularity among youth.
American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following statement in support of the law:
“Gov. Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts legislature have taken bold and necessary action to protect children from menthol cigarettes; fruit, mint and candy-flavored e-cigarettes and all other flavored tobacco products that the tobacco industry uses to start kids on tobacco and addict them to nicotine.
“The Massachusetts statewide law is the most far-reaching in the nation, and it should serve as a shining example of what can be done to keep e-cigarettes and other tobacco products out of the hands of our kids.
“Our country faces a growing epidemic of youth e-cigarette use, which has been driven by companies marketing more than 15,000 flavors, including fruit, candy, mint and menthol, to kids. As a result, 97 percent of youth e-cigarette users prefer flavored products. By removing flavored e-cigarettes from the market and imposing a tax on all e-cigarettes, the Massachusetts law will help keep kids from initiating tobacco use with these products.
“One of the most impactful aspects of the Massachusetts law is its inclusion of menthol tobacco products. For decades, tobacco companies have targeted African American, LGBTQ and other populations with menthol products, which have been shown to encourage tobacco use, increase progression to regular smoking and enhance the addictiveness and dependence of tobacco. More than half of all youth smokers use menthol cigarettes.
“We urge Congress and the administration to follow Massachusetts’ lead and remove all flavored tobacco products from the market nationwide. In the absence of federal action, we hope other states will follow in Massachusetts’ footsteps to promote the health of our kids. Protecting public health, particularly the health of our nation’s children, must be a top priority for lawmakers at all levels of government.”
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
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