Last week, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka outlined their legislative agendas prior to the November 20 deadline concluding full formal legislative sessions for 2019. Two bills scheduled for action, HB4089/SB2357, championed by Rep. Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough) and Sen. John Keenan (D-Quincy), would permanently ban all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, vaping products, and menthol cigarettes. Both bills sit before the House and Senate Ways & Means Committees.
MHA is a member of the Tobacco Free Mass. coalition that supports the bills’ provisions that would ban flavored tobacco products, including mint, wintergreen, and menthol flavors. Menthol is a flavor, but it is also a numbing agent, allowing the smoker to inhale more deeply and become more addicted. It also increases the absorption of nicotine into mouth tissues. The faster the nicotine absorption, the more addicted the user becomes. According to recent data, 54% of high school students that smoke use menthol cigarettes, and more than 90% of tobacco-using African American youth smoke menthol cigarettes.
MHA and Tobacco Free Mass. support a comprehensive flavor ban that covers all flavors and products.