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.
Tobacco Free Mass (TFM) had two major successes this past session:
- Youth Tobacco Prevention Bill signed into law! After the House and Senate passed the legislation by large margins (146-4 and 33-3), the Governor signed the bill into law on July 27, 2019. It will go into effect on January 1, 2019. The legislation includes increasing the sales age for tobacco from 18 to 21, adding e-cigarettes to the smoke free workplace law, and prohibiting the sale of tobacco in pharmacies. TFM advocates worked tirelessly to move this bill, talking to legislators and aides and distributing letters and information to every legislator three times a week. Thank you to everyone who called, wrote, or visited your legislators!
- Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention program (MTCP) budget: The $500,000 increase to MTCP is in the final FY 19 state budget! The Governor did not veto the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program (MTCP)’s line in the budget, so the $500,000 increase the House and Senate voted in will stay. This is the highest level MTCP has been funded at since 2010 and reverses a years-long decline in funding. It’s just in time. MTCP desperately needs the funding to meet emerging challenges. With Juul and other flavored e-cigarettes heavily targeting young people, schools and parents are calling for more help. Communities are also turning to MTCP for guidance on cannabis’ impact on the Smokefree Workplace Law, and more support is needed to help individuals trying to quit smoking as they struggle with other addictions. Thank you to everyone who contacted their legislators. Clearly, they heard your voices! And thank you to all the MTCP staff and funded programs whose outstanding work over many years has driven down tobacco use in Massachusetts. We look forward to fighting alongside you on the challenges ahead!
Tobacco Free Mass continues to work on its other issues:
- Tobacco Tax Increase: On July 18th, 2017, the Joint Committee on Revenue held a public hearing on HB 3314, a bill that would increase the excise tax on cigarettes by $1.00 to $4.51 and the tax on cigars from 40% of wholesale to 80% of wholesale.
- Local Tobacco Policies: Cities and towns across Massachusetts have been passing tobacco policies that fight the tobacco industry’s influence on the local level. Many cities and towns have banned the sale of tobacco in pharmacies, restricted the sale of flavored tobacco to adult-only retailers, raised the age of tobacco sale to 21, and prohibited the use of e-cigarettes wherever the Smoke-Free Workplace Law applies. Information about local policies can be found on MTCP’s website, MakeSmokingHistory.org.
As the need arises for specific action to help advance this legislation, we will post it here. In the meantime, let your Massachusetts Legislators know you support these important pieces of legislation!
Current Massachusetts laws specific to tobacco can be found on Mass.gov.