US: State lawmakers pass nation’s toughest restrictions on sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products - - PressFrom - US
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US State lawmakers pass nation’s toughest restrictions on sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products

13:00  21 november  2019
13:00  21 november  2019 Source:   bostonglobe.com

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Despite a million ad blizzard by a giant tobacco company, voters in San Francisco resoundingly supported a new ban on the selling of flavored A handful of other cities, including Chicago, New York and Providence, R.I., have some restrictions on flavored tobacco products , such as limiting

A lack of federal action prompted several states to try to institute bans on flavored e-cigarettes, spurring the vaping and tobacco industries to mount legal Some have promoted enforcing sales restrictions to protect minors, or raising the national age to 21 for sales of all tobacco products .

State lawmakers on Thursday passed the nation’s toughest restrictions on the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products, including menthol — a forceful response to an epidemic in which one out of every five Massachusetts high-schoolers use e-cigarettes.

Charlie Baker wearing a suit and tie: The legislation now awaits action by Governor Charlie Baker.© Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff The legislation now awaits action by Governor Charlie Baker.

The legislation, completed after midnight and just before lawmakers broke for a weekslong recess, now awaits action by Governor Charlie Baker, who in September declared a public health emergency and ordered a temporary ban on all vaping sales following an explosion of vaping-related illness.

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A lack of federal action prompted several states to try to institute bans on flavored e-cigarettes, spurring the vaping and tobacco industries to mount legal Some have promoted enforcing sales restrictions to protect minors, or raising the national age to 21 for sales of all tobacco products .

Health groups, Democratic lawmakers and other underage vaping foes push back against Trump' s 11 ban on most flavored vapes . And the American Medical Association called for a prohibition on The company has suspended its advertising and halted sales of all flavored vapes but tobacco and

“This nation-leading step will save lives,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said of the bill.

The legislature’s relatively swift action stands in contrast to the retreat the Trump administration appears to be beating on the issue, after the president backtracked on a similar ban on fruit, candy, and mint-flavored e-cigarettes a few months after saying he intended to “clear the market” of flavored vaping products.

The legislation, versions of which cleared the Senate late Wednesday and the House a week earlier, targets both traditional and electronic cigarettes, including banning sales of mint and menthol flavors in what is believed to be the first such prohibition on a statewide level. It would also levy a 75 percent excise tax on vaping products.

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Currently, NYC has a local law that restricts the sale of flavored tobacco products . However, some products , including menthol tobacco products This toolkit contains resources and strategies to help your community raise awareness and resist the dangers of flavored tobacco and vaping products

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday announced a series of restrictions aimed at combating a growing public health menace — flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco products that have lured young people into vaping and smoking.

But unlike Baker’s temporary ban initially did, the bill would not apply to marijuana products. It would immediately ban the sale of flavored vaping products, while pushing the prohibition on menthol cigarette sales to June 1, 2020. Sales in smoking bars would be exempt.

Senate President Karen E. Spilka said given the precariousness of the state’s temporary vaping ban, which is slated to end Christmas Eve, it was important to get the bill to Baker before formal sessions resume in January.

“This will provide a certainty to consumers, to retailers, to everybody, to know hopefully what the law is,” she told reporters just before 1 a.m. in the State House.

Retailers and the industry panned the legislation, warning it would cripple some businesses, but it drew praise from public health advocates around the country, who believe the measure could become a national model in the face of uncertainty at the federal level.

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Six state lawmakers in California will introduce legislation to ban retail sales of e-cigarettes with flavors other than tobacco , and strengthen online age restrictions . When San Francisco voters upheld that city’ s ban on flavored vapor and tobacco products in June, supporters of the new law

He added that the decision on flavor restrictions would not come under his purview because it was already under final review by the White House. Several states and municipalities have tried to outlaw flavored e-cigarettes and are now facing court challenges from the vaping industry.

“A number of states are seriously considering similar legislation. By being first, Massachusetts is going to serve as a catalyst for what may be one of the more fundamental changes in tobacco our nation has experienced,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Myers said the sign that the Trump administration is backing off “its commitment to sweep the market of flavored tobacco products makes it more important than ever that states and localities take decisive action.”

States including New York and Michigan have instituted temporary bans on flavored products. But the Massachusetts bill would be the first statewide prohibition on menthol flavors, coming a decade after Congress banned flavored cigarettes with the exception of menthol.

“It’s not enough to just remove flavored e-cigarettes because we know that kids will simply migrate over to other flavored tobacco products left on the market,” said Marc Hymovitz, director of government relations in Massachusetts for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

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"I believe these menthol- flavored products represent one of the most common and pernicious routes by which kids The FDA is also expanding its crackdown on e-cigarettes, proposing new restrictions on sales of flavored vaping products on the grounds that they are Why it' s tough to be a dinosaur.

The state would become the second in the nation , behind Michigan, to outlaw sale of the fruity flavors popular with children and teenagers. Tobacco and menthol- flavored products would not be covered by the ban, the governor said, saying some data suggests that those menthol products could assist

Menthol cigarettes — which federal officials say are heavily marketed toward African-Americans — also account for the bulk of tobacco-related health disparities between rich and poor Americans, and white and black Americans, said Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The legislation was part of a flurry of bills lawmakers juggled during the final day of formal sessions this year. They also sent to Baker’s desk a landmark bill overhauling the state’s school funding formula, legislation banning the handheld use of cellphones while driving, and a package aimed at expanding health care access for children, among others.

But the House and Senate were unable to come to an agreement on a budget to close out the fiscal year that ended in June, an extremely unusual impasse.

In addition to prohibiting the sale of flavored products, the tobacco bill also would create a licensing system for those who sell vape products and steep penalties, from $5,000 to $25,000, for those who sell e-cigarettes without one. It also would require health insurers, including the state’s Medicaid program, to cover tobacco cessation counseling.

How Baker will approach the bill is unclear. Though he once campaigned on not raising taxes or fees, he has previously proposed taxing e-cigarette products — at 40 percent — and said he supports taking flavored vaping products from bubble gum to raspberry “out of the mix.”

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Before the injunction, Michigan lawmakers were working on implementing a permanent policy, according to the state ’ s Department of Health and Human Services. 17 became the first state to actually implement a statewide ban on most flavored nicotine vaping products , just days after Gov.

Bans on sales of flavored vaping products took effect this month in New York and Michigan, and the Trump administration said it plans to enact a similar regulation at the But Massachusetts would go beyond a flavor ban to also temporarily eliminate tobacco and marijuana e-cigarettes from the market.

But he avoided a question last month on whether he backs banning mint and menthol sales, saying he wanted to collect more data. His office said Wednesday he would review the bill.

And while a plan at the federal level to ban flavored e-cigarettes once appeared on the horizon, Trump has since backed off, reportedly over concerns it could alienate voters ahead of next year’s election.

“Quite frankly, what President Trump says on one day changes to the next,” DeLeo, the House speaker, said Wednesday. “We do what we have to do here in Massachusetts to make sure that we produce the best possible piece of legislation.”

The legislation’s progress sparked fierce resistance from the vaping industry and convenience store owners, who criticized the ban as heavy-handed and too broad in its attempt to tamp down on youth smoking.

They’ve also warned of fiscal fallout. The Vaping Technology Association, an industry trade group, said the bill would “destroy” what is a $331 million industry in Massachusetts, and the New England Convenience Store and Energy Marketers Association estimates the flavor ban would cost $250 million in revenue in mint and menthol sales.

The Department of Revenue estimates the tax revenue this fiscal year from mint and menthol to be far less — between $135 million and $160 million — but state officials stress they have yet to do an analysis on the bill itself. Meanwhile, lawmakers have said the 75 percent excise tax on vaping products could produce $10 million to $15 million in additional revenue.

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Michigan on Wednesday became the first state in the nation to ban flavored e-cigarettes, a step the governor said was Besides sweet flavors , the prohibition will also apply to vaping products that use mint and menthol flavors . It does not cover tobacco - flavored e-cigarettes, the governor’ s aides said.

The FDA will announce restrictions on flavored vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations, according to unnamed sources at the agency. The FDA will ban sales of closed- system vaping products like JUUL in flavors except tobacco and menthol in convenience stores and gas

“We have basically vacated a $1 billion market,” said Jonathan Shaer, executive director of the New England Convenience Store and Energy Marketers Association, predicting that consumers will turn to online sources or the black market. “That demand will absolutely find a market. It doesn’t disappear if the state chooses to ban sales.”

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention has documented a flood of vaping-related illnesses, including 2,172 reports of lung injuries and at least 42 deaths nationwide as of last week. Massachusetts officials said Wednesday they’ve reported 81 cases to federal officials, and three people in the state — a woman in her 40s, a man in his 50s, and a woman in her 60s — have died.

Amid the cases, Baker ordered a controversial temporary ban on all vaping sales in September, which amid legal challenges has been whittled to a three-month prohibition that’s slated to end Dec. 24.

It also refueled focus on long-filed legislation specifically targeting flavored tobacco products.

Lawmakers argue that the legislation is necessary to quell the spread of youth vaping, which experts view as a major public health problem. Supporters argue that by offering their products in flavors such as cotton candy and “appletini,” e-cigarette companies are turning to Big Tobacco’s playbook — targeting their products to young people, in hopes of getting them addicted.

“It’s the only way to really protect our kids,” said state Senator John F. Keenan, a Quincy Democrat who is the lead Senate sponsor of the flavor-ban bill.

A state report released in March found that as of 2017, the most recent state-level data available, one of every five high school-level youths used e-cigarettes. The vast majority of those — 80 percent — puffed flavored products. (Combustible cigarette use among youths, meanwhile, is far lower and on the decline, with just 6.4 percent reporting they smoked within 30 days.)

Nationwide, more than five million middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the past month, with nearly one million saying they vaped daily, according to federal data.

“The crux of this legislation has been about protecting a generation of children from getting hooked on nicotine,” said state Representative Danielle W. Gregoire, a Marlborough Democrat and the lead sponsor of the House legislation.

“It’s important to send a message,” she added, “that while the temporary ban has been helpful, we need to act on this.”

Matt Stout can be reached at matt.stout@globe.com. Victoria McGrane can be reached at victoria.mcgrane@globe.com.

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