BOSTON - Today the House Ways and Means Committee has released legislation that would prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products in the Commonwealth, including mint and menthol flavors, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco and cigars. It would also tax e-cigarettes at 75% of wholesale and improve access to cessation services. The bill is set to be debated in the House on Wednesday.
The following can be attributed to Marc Hymovitz, Massachusetts director of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN):
“ACS CAN commends Speaker DeLeo, Chairman Michlewitz, Representative Gregoire and the House Ways and Means Committee on the release of this comprehensive tobacco control bill. The Commonwealth has long been a leader in fighting Big Tobacco, and if passed in its current form, this bill would set Massachusetts apart from the rest of the nation in the steps it has taken to protect its kids from the risk of deadly tobacco addiction.
“The data is staggering: more than 80% of teens who have ever used a tobacco product started with a flavored product such as mint or menthol. Big Tobacco has spent decades manipulating tobacco products to create flavors they know will hook another generation of kids, and the current bill would bring this to an end in Massachusetts.
“Additionally, we have decades of evidence to show that increasing the price of tobacco is proven to be an effective way to prevent children from starting. By increasing the price of e-cigarettes and treating them like all other tobacco products, it will make it more difficult for kids to begin using tobacco products and become lifelong customers of the tobacco industry.
“We urge the House of Representatives to reject any attempts to weaken this strong piece of tobacco control legislation. Taken together, the proposed flavored tobacco sales restrictions, tax equalization, and cessation components of this bill would be truly life saving for kids across Massachusetts. ACS CAN looks forward to working with lawmakers to pass this bill in its current form.”
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.