Massachusetts governor passes legislation banning flavored tobacco and nicotine vaping products
The Massachusetts governor, Charlie Baker, has passed comprehensive tobacco-restricting legislature, which prohibits selling flavored tobacco products such as nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes with that artificial flavoring and even mentholated cigarettes. The law excludes tobacco and vaping items that are sold for on-the-spot use in special themed smoking shops and locations.
In addition to flavored products, the new law also places a 75 percent excise tax on electronic cigarettes that are not flavored that sold anywhere except special stores.
"The bill we signed today goes a long way towards restricting access to the most addictive kinds of nicotine and vaping products," the governor said. "The bill will keep kids and teenagers from getting their hands on vaping products, especially flavored products that encourage young people to start using."
"The new law will also make sure that electronic cigarettes are treated the same way as traditional tobacco products concerning taxation and point-of-sale restrictions," Baker added.
After the signing ceremony, governor Baker also criticized federal regulator and the presidential administration, which have publicly demonized the e-cigarette industry, but have yet to place any restrictions in the sector.
"Unfortunately, it's becoming increasingly clear that the federal government is not going to act decisively, so we're going to do everything that we can with state-level authority," Baker said.
The law is being passed concurrently with a temporary emergency order that prohibits the sale of all e-cigarette products and paraphernalia, regardless of whether they are flavored or not. The emergency measure, which also prohibited the sale of e-cigarette products that contained THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, came as a result of a nationwide wave of illnesses that were tied to the use of e-cigarette products. Federal data show that over 2,000 cases of illness were reported, 278 of which were in Massachusetts. 3 cases in MA resulted in death.
Governor Baker also declared that he will be extending the emergency order, which was originally scheduled to end next month, until December 11th.