BOSTON—Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has announced that the state’s temporary ban on the sale of all vaping products will remain in place until Dec. 11. At that time, permanent regulations from the state’s Department of Public Health (DPH) will be considered, reports Cape Cod Today.
The proposed new law, An Act Modernizing Tobacco Control, includes restrictions on the sale of tobacco products and limits the sale of flavored nicotine vaping products to licensed smoking bars where they may only be smoked on-site. The legislation grants the DPH new authority to regulate the sale of nicotine vaping products and to ensure that the public is informed about vaping’s potential health effects.
“In light of the growing health crisis associated with e-cigarettes and vaping, our administration implemented a temporary ban on the sale of e-cigarette and vaping products to provide time for legislative and regulatory bodies to better understand what's making people sick and act to protect the health of Massachusetts residents,” said Gov. Baker. “Today, e-cigarettes are the most commonly used form of tobacco by youth in Massachusetts. This [permanent] legislation will further restrict the sale of nicotine containing products to minors, providing the opportunity for them to live healthy, safe lives.”
On Dec. 11, the Public Health Council will convene at its regularly scheduled meeting time to consider the proposed regulations, which will:
- Require the posting of signage in any location where vaping products are sold to warn customers of the dangers of severe lung disease associated with vaping products and more generally advising of the health risks of vaping.
- Specify the DPH’s authority to prohibit the sale of a designated vaping product if it’s determined that the product causes vaping-related lung illness or poses a substantial risk to public health.
- Strengthen state and local enforcement allowing the DPH or local Boards of Health to inspect retail locations and the products they sell for compliance with the law and provide penalties for violations.
- Establish how retailers and manufacturers must comply with the law's requirement that vaping products with nicotine content of more than 35 mg/ml may only be sold in 21+ establishments.
- Require vaping products to be placed behind the counter in all non-age restricted retailers (e.g. convenience stores).
Beginning on June 1, 2020, the sale of all other tobacco products featuring a characterizing flavor (such as menthol cigarettes and flavored chewing tobacco) will also be restricted to licensed smoking bars where they may be sold only for on-site consumption. In addition, the new law imposes a 75% excise tax on the wholesale price of nicotine vaping products (in addition to the existing 6.75% sales tax), which also takes effect June 1.
The state’s Cannabis Control Commission has also quarantined THC-based vaping products, except for specific devices used exclusively to vaporize marijuana flowers for medical use patients. The cause of e-cigarette- or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) remains unknown and is under investigation.