The state of Massachusetts recently made history by becoming the first state to enact a ban against flavored tobacco vaping and nicotine products such as menthol cigarettes.
According to The Associated Press, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law into effect on Nov. 27 that would ban these tobacco products due to their appeal to minors. “Under this law, beginning on June 1, 2020, the sale of all other tobacco products that have a characterizing flavor (e.g. menthol cigarettes and flavored chewing tobacco) will also be restricted to licensed smoking bars where they may be sold only for on-site consumption,” reads a portion of Gov. Baker’s press statement.
Many anti-smoking activists are happy about this move and are praising its swift approval in support of protecting the health of the state’s youth. “The Massachusetts law is a major milestone in the fight to reverse the worsening e-cigarette epidemic and stop tobacco companies from targeting and addicting kids with flavored products,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
However, some folks in the state are not satisfied. They feel that the move was sudden rather than a prudent look at existing policy. “Public health and safety has been dealt a blow by anti-tobacco crusaders exploiting a youth vaping crisis, and by lawmakers bypassing prudent policy-making,” said the New England Convenience Store and Energy Makers Association.
Massachusetts is one of many states that have decided to make a move on controlling vaping. Recently, officials in Michigan, Montana, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington have also worked to temporarily banned or restricted the sale of vaping products. However, Massachusetts is the first state to make this permanent and to place a ban on all flavored tobacco or nicotine vaping products.
Specifically, the new law targets products relegated only to smoking establishments like cigar bars and hookah lounges. Now, these products will only be available for consumption on-site. The restriction also includes menthol cigarettes and flavored e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and chewing tobacco. “More than 80 percent of teens who have ever used a tobacco product started with a flavored product, and the tobacco industry knows this,” the American Cancer Society said in a statement in relation to this ban.
The recent backlash against vaping is taking a serious turn. Apple recently removed vaping apps from their online store and vaping illness is now an officially recognized condition. Let’s hope that the reduction in vaping illness cases continues.