CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The Massachusetts legislature has passed a ban on all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes, the New York Times reports. If the governor signs it into law, the state would be the first to prohibit all forms of flavored tobacco through legislation.
Before heading to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk, the House and Senate versions must be reconciled. Baker hasn’t said whether he plans to sign the final bill or not. The measure also slaps an excise tax on electronic cigarettes and mandates that insurance companies cover nicotine replacement regimes and tobacco cessation therapies. The proposal would place higher-level nicotine products in 21 and older stores.
“Menthol and mint tobacco is a billion-dollar market in Massachusetts,” said Jonathan Shaer, The New England Convenience Store and Energy Marketers Association executive director. “A billion dollars in market demand does not disappear because Massachusetts chooses to ban it. Instead that demand will absolutely find markets, but now instead of being in the licensed, regulated, taxed market, it will now be in the illicit market, the online market, and it will go over our borders, especially to New Hampshire, which stands to gain a windfall in tax revenue.”
Also this week, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill to ban all flavored tobacco products on the federal level.