Statement: State Senate passes vital new bill to combat youth tobacco use

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Statement: State Senate passes vital new bill to combat youth tobacco use

Bill sent to Governor Baker

BOSTON — By an overwhelming majority, (32-6)  the Massachusetts Senate passed a critical bill last night aimed at stemming the youth vaping epidemic. “An Act to Modernize Tobacco Control” would ban flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes and chewing tobacco. It’s a critical step to protect youth because four out of five kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product. The bill is now on Governor Charlie Baker’s desk.

The bill also taxes tobacco vaping products at the same rate as cigarettes, increases retailer fines for sales to minors, and provides for insurance-covered cessation tools.

MASSPIRG Legislative Director Deirdre Cummings released the following statement on the act’s passage by the Massachusetts Senate:

“The legislation, championed by Senator John Keenan, in the Senate and Representative Danielle Gregoire in the House, is the strongest state-level action to address youth tobacco use by cutting all flavored products, which hook kids and drag them into a potentially life-long struggle with nicotine addiction.

“Vaping is proving that history can repeat itself when it comes to youth tobacco use. But  Massachusetts’ legislators showed the necessary leadership to fight this scourge. The critical reforms in this bill will protect our children’s health from the e-cigarette epidemic that is currently choking our country. We urge Governor Baker to sign it into law immediately.”