Tobacco Free Mass supports a comprehensive approach aimed at protecting young people from all tobacco and nicotine products, helping smokers quit, and preventing exposure to secondhand smoke. Regular and significant tax increases, smoke-free workplace laws, and a well-funded evidence-based tobacco control program are the critical components to achieving these goals.
Other policy strategies build on these core components by directly attacking the strategies tobacco companies use to target youth.
Bills for the coming session have just been filed. Check back in a couple of days for a listing of bills we support. In the meantime, there’s the state budget!
The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget has a cut of more than $100,000 to the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program. This is a bad idea anytime, but with the rapidly rising rates of young people using — and becoming addicted to–Juul and other e-cigarette products, it’s especially misguided. We hope the House recognizes the need not just to continue MTCP’s funding, but to increase it for the coming fiscal year as the program takes on new challenges. In FY 2019, the budget for the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program was $4,218,872. The governor proposes an FY 2020 budget of $4,117,730.
The Governor’s budget does include a tax on e-cigarettes and associated products. Currently, none exists in Massachusetts. The Governor’s proposal is 40% of wholesale, while we propose 75% to bring the tax level on par with that of combustible cigarettes. Taxes are a proven youth tobacco prevention strategy because they increase the price of the products, making them less available to young people.
Current Massachusetts laws specific to tobacco can be found on Mass.gov.