Massachusetts cuts its temporary flavored e-cigarette ban two weeks short – as the state announces a permanent block will come into effect in June
- In September, Governor Charlie Baker ordered a temporary ban on the sale of all vaping products, flavored and unflavored
- The ban was supposed to end on December 24, Christmas Eve, but the last day will now be December 11
- When Baker’s administration is done drafting additional regulations, a permanent ban will go into effect starting June 1,
- The new legislation also places a 75 percent excise tax on e-cigarettes
- It comes amid an outbreak of vaping-linked lung illnesses that have killed 47 Americans and sickened 2,290
Massachusetts’s temporary ban on all vaping products will end weeks earlier than expected, Governor Charlie Baker announced on Wednesday.
The ban was originally going to end on Christmas Eve, but the last day is now scheduled to be Wednesday, December 11.
It was announced on the same day that Baker signed into law legislation that makes The Bay State the first in the country to prohibit flavored tobacco and vapes, including menthol cigarettes.
After the administration is done drafting additional regulations, the permanent ban will go into effect starting June 1, 2020.
A temporary ban on flavored tobacco and vaping products in Massachusetts will end n December 11, but a permanent ban is set to go into effect on June 1, Governor Charlie Baker said. Pictured: Baker announcing the temporary ban, September 2019
In September, Baker, a Republican, declared a public health emergency and ordered a temporary ban on the sale of all vaping products – flavored and unflavored.
Some states have temporarily banned or restricted flavored tobacco or vaping products to different degrees, but Massachusetts is the first state with a permanent ban in place, anti-smoking groups say.
Especially notable is its ban on menthol, which is among the most popular flavors and has often been exempted from bans.
The legislation, which was passed by the state’s Democrat-controlled legislature earlier this month, also places a 75 percent excise tax on e-cigarettes.
President Donald Trump has promised for months to approve a national ban on most flavored e-cigarettes.
But in recent weeks, his administration canceled a planned announcement of a ban, and rumors swirled that it was because advisers had told him he would lose voters in states he needed to win re-election in 2020 if a ban was enacted.
Instead, Trump has said he will meet with representatives from the vaping industry and medical professionals.
‘It’s pretty clear there isn’t going to be a federal policy on this anytime soon,’ Baker said. ‘So in the absence of that, we had to act.’
The law’s new restrictions on flavored tobacco products are important because they have helped the traditional smoking market grow and led to the flavored vaping products popular with youths, state Attorney General Maura Healey said.
‘This is not a nanny state effort,’ said Healey, a Democrat. ‘This is a significant public health effort.’
Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, called it ‘a critical step to help end the worsening youth e-cigarette epidemic and stop tobacco companies from using appealing flavors to lure kids into a lifetime of addiction.’
But the New England Convenience Store and Energy Marketers Association, which had opposed the legislation, said in a statement the ban will disproportionately affect communities of color and cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue.
The legislation responds to an epidemic of mysterious lung illnesses linked to vaping has swept the nation, sickening 2,290 people and killing 47 Americans in 25 states and DC.
Most of the victims who’ve fallen ill are male and under the age of 35, with the ages of those who died ranging from 17 to 75.
Health officials have charged that teens and young people make up the majority of illnesses because flavored e-cigarettes were marketed towards them.
Most of the illnesses have resulted from people vaping a combination of THC, the main psychoactive component in marijuana, and nicotine.