Massachusetts sees overall decrease in cigarette sales after passage of first in the nation flavored tobacco legislation

New analysis shows Massachusetts benefitted significantly from ending the sale of flavored cigarettes

January 5, 2022

BOSTON –  A newly released, first of its kind study by the American Cancer Society (ACS) shows that Massachusetts’ law ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol flavored cigarettes, implemented in June 2020, tremendously decreased menthol and all (menthol and nonflavored) cigarette sales in the state. Published yesterday in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA), the research highlights the lifesaving benefits of Massachusetts’ first in the nation move to end the sale of flavored tobacco.

Public health advocates, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the advocacy affiliate of ACS, worked tirelessly to pass this legislation when it was first introduced. The data show that ending the sale of flavored cigarettes, including menthol flavored, decreased cigarette sales in Massachusetts after the law went into effect, even with possible switches to nonflavored cigarettes.

“This study serves to reinforce what we have been saying for years: keeping flavored tobacco products, including menthol flavored cigarettes, off the shelves here in Massachusetts is making a measurable difference in slowing the state’s tobacco epidemic,” said Marc Hymovitz, director of government relations for ACS CAN in Massachusetts. “With smoking being the number one cause of preventable death and responsible for one-third of all cancer deaths, evidence of the effectiveness of flavor sale restrictions is incredibly valuable data and further supports our efforts to save lives from tobacco.”

Led by Samuel Asare, Ph.D., at the American Cancer Society, the study showed that Massachusetts benefitted significantly from the comprehensive flavor ban by reducing overall (menthol and nonflavored) cigarette sales. “Overall, the adjusted 4-week sales of cigarettes decreased by 282.65 (95% CI, -356.07 to -209.23; P < .001) packs per 1000 people in Massachusetts vs the comparison states.” This decrease in overall cigarette sales was driven by significant decreases in menthol cigarette sales, although it was partially offset by increases in nonflavored cigarette sales. As the study reported: “After the flavor ban, the adjusted 4-week sales of cigarettes in Massachusetts vs the comparison states decreased by 372.27 (95% CI, -428.90 to 315.64; P < .001) packs per 1000 people for menthol cigarettes but increased by 120.25 (95% CI, 72.61 to 167.88; P < .001) packs per 1000 people for nonflavored cigarettes.”

“ACS CAN applauds Massachusetts lawmakers for passing this landmark legislation, and Governor Baker for signing this into law. The Commonwealth remains a leader in the fight against Big Tobacco in part because the legislature is not afraid to raise the bar and challenge the status quo of tobacco control.

“We can do even more by continuing to invest in the states’ successful Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention program (MTCP).  MTCP has been a leader in fighting back against Big Tobacco in their pushing flavored tobacco products on our kids and communities of color.”

Nationally, ACS CAN and other leading public health groups are calling on the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to follow the Commonwealth’s lead and implement a nationwide menthol flavor ban.



About ACS CAN at 20 

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that saves lives. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting


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