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BOSTON -- Lawmakers held a hearing today on legislation (S.1279/H.1902) that would prohibit the sale of any flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in Massachusetts anywhere except for age-restricted amoking bars. The bill, An Act Regulating Flavored Tobacco Products, was filed by Representative Danielle Gregoire and Senator John Keenan and includes a bipartisan group of 69 co-sponsoring lawmakers. Consumer and public health advocates urged legislators to support the bill, citing the rampant rise of e-cigarette use among young people, and the role flavors play in hooking kids on the products.
“Flavored e-cigarettes -- whether it’s mango, chocolate or mint -- are luring young people into the nicotine trap. Given the rampant rise in vaping we saw last year, it’s critical that Massachusetts lawmakers act now to protect children’s health by restricting the sale of all flavored tobacco products,” said Deirdre Cummings, MASSPIRG’s Legislative Director, who testified in favor of the bill alongside public health experts.
The U.S. Surgeon General recently called e-cigarette use among America’s youth an epidemic. Last year, e-cigarette use surged by nearly 80 percent, with one in five high schoolers reporting that they vaped.
E-cigarettes almost always contain nicotine, an addictive drug that can impact learning, memory and attention among adolescents. It can also contribute to mood disorders and increase the risk of future addiction to other dangerous substances. Research also suggests that young people using e-cigarettes are more likely than non-users to start smoking combustible cigarettes.
Four out of five kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product.
“Nicotine addiction is a hard struggle to overcome. Without swift action to limit the access and appeal of e-cigarettes to young people, thousands more kids could face that struggle, with serious consequences for their health and futures,” said Matt Wellington, End the Nicotine Trap Director, U.S. PIRG.
From L to R, Dr. Laurin Smith, Tobacco Free MA, Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, pediatrician at MGH for Children, Deirdre Cummings, MASSPIRG, and Ashly Paulsen, Ast. Athletic Director in Framingham
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