Massachusetts Enacts Initial Statewide Ban On Vape Flavors And Menthol Cigarettes

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BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts became the initially state to ban the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping merchandise, which includes menthol cigarettes, following the Republican governor signed a bill Wednesday that responds to current deaths linked to e-cigarettes and attempts to lessen their appeal to young persons.

Anti-smoking groups hailed the ban signed by Gov.
Charlie Baker, which outlaws the sale of flavored vaping merchandise
promptly and of menthol cigarettes beginning June 1, 2020.

Some
states have temporarily banned or restricted flavored tobacco or vaping
merchandise to diverse degrees, but Massachusetts is the initially state with
a permanent ban in location, anti-smoking groups say. In particular notable
is its ban on menthol, which is amongst the most well known flavors and has
typically been exempted from bans.

The bill is a “major step forward,”
Baker mentioned, but states can do only so significantly to address the public well being
emergency about e-cigarettes and other vaping merchandise. The federal
Centers for Illness Manage and Prevention and the Meals and Drug
Administration are the only ones that can address the difficulties
comprehensively, he mentioned.

President Donald Trump has promised for months to approve a national ban on most flavored e-cigarettes. But in current weeks his administration canceled a planned announcement of a ban, and Trump has mentioned he will meet with the vaping sector and health-related specialists alternatively.

“It’s
quite clear there is not going to be a federal policy on this anytime
quickly,” Baker mentioned Wednesday. “So in the absence of that, we had to act.”

The
New England Comfort Retailer and Power Marketers Association, which
had opposed the legislation, mentioned in a statement the ban will
disproportionately impact communities of colour and price the state
hundreds of millions of dollars in tax income.

Research have shown
menthol cigarettes are consumed disproportionately by young persons and
minorities, and anti-tobacco groups and well being authorities have argued
menthol has been marketed in certain to African Americans.

The
law’s new restrictions on flavored tobacco merchandise are significant
due to the fact they have helped the standard smoking marketplace develop and led to
the flavored vaping merchandise well known with youths, state Lawyer Common
Maura Healey mentioned.

“This is not a nanny state work,” mentioned Healey, a Democrat. “This is a considerable public well being work.”

The
American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network mentioned it hoped the new
law would send a message to an sector accused of making use of flavored
merchandise to introduce teenagers to smoking.

“More than 80% of
teens who have ever utilised a tobacco item began with a flavored
item, and the tobacco sector knows this,” the organization mentioned in
an emailed statement.

Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for
Tobacco-Free of charge Youngsters, referred to as it “a crucial step to assistance finish the worsening
youth e-cigarette epidemic and cease tobacco businesses from making use of
attractive flavors to lure youngsters into a lifetime of addiction.”

The
law areas a 75% excise tax on vaping merchandise and need well being
insurers, which includes the state’s Medicaid system, to cover tobacco
cessation counseling.

The legislation responds to increasing concern about the well being effects of vaping merchandise, which includes deaths whose precise trigger is nonetheless getting investigated.

In September, Baker had declared a public well being emergency and ordered a short-term ban on the sale of all vaping merchandise — flavored and unflavored. Baker mentioned Wednesday he’ll preserve that ban in location till Dec. 11 though his administration drafts further regulations.

By Philip Marcelo



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