In June, schools let out, heatwaves turned on, and at the State House our priority legislation was slowly moving:

  • Budget for the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program (MTCP): The House and Senate are still in conference, hammering out agreements on the FY 2022 state budget.  Both sides proposed the same funding of $5,618,793 in MTCP's budget line--an increase of $500,000 over FY 2021. Because the proposed amounts are the same, the line is not subject to conference committee changes and stands! The only potential issue is the governor vetoing the line.  If that happens, you will definitely hear about it from us right away... with action steps to push for an override.

  • Cigarette and Cigar Tax: Sen. Hariette Chandler and Rep. Marjorie Decker filed bills that would increase the cigarette tax by $1.00 and increase the cigar tax from 40% to 80% of wholesale. Increases in tobacco prices through taxes have been shown to decrease tobacco use, especially among young people.
  • Closing MassHealth cessation benefit loophole: Sen. Jason Lewis and Rep. Christine Barber filed bills that would expand access to tobacco cessation counseling by allowing new categories of professionals to bill MassHealth for tobacco cessation, including dentists, behavioral and mental health counselors, and certified tobacco use cessation counselors.

    Facts. No Filters.

    The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is collaborating with the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation to launch Facts. No Filters, a vaping education campaign for Massachusetts youth. The campaign gives young people facts about the dangers of vaping, tips to help them talk to friends, and resources to quit. Learn more at and @GetTheVapeFacts on Instagram. The campaign launched June 27 and will run through early Fall 2021. Handouts about vaping and quit resource cards for youth are available free of charge at the Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse.

    Please share this information with your colleagues and networks and share it on social media! If you have questions or comments about the campaign and related materials, please contact Rachel Cohen at MTCP.  But beware...there are zombies!

    Tobacco Free Mass has a new mailing address!

    We are delighted to announce that TFM has a new Post Office box. Please use this address for all mail to Tobacco Free Mass, including dues payments and fan letters.

    Tobacco Free Mass

    PO Box 380944

    Cambridge, MA  02238

    News you can use

    • Juul has agreed to pay North Carolina $40 million to settle the first of many lawsuits brought by states and localities, including Massachusetts.  The lawsuits call out JUUL for its youth targeting practices, which fueled widespread nicotine addiction among young people. JUUL did not admit wrongdoing.

    • Flavored e-cigarettes may affect the brain differently than non-flavored, according to a new study reported on in Neuroscience News. This new information backs up our assertion that adult smokers looking to move away from combustible cigarettes don't need flavors to do it.

    • So who are those flavored e-cigarettes for? A national study reported in JAMA found that although current e-cigarette use among youth significantly decreased during 2019 to 2020, use prevalence, frequent use, and flavored e-cigarette use remained high. 

    TFM membership dues reminders... and updates!

    Membership dues reminders went out in early May.  If your organization did not receive a reminder and invoice, please contact Gwen StewartTobacco Free Mass receives the vast majority of its support through membership dues; the rest comes from event sponsorships, occasional small grants, and donations. Your contribution enables us to be independent, outspoken advocates for tobacco cessation and prevention.

    It can take up to several weeks for checks to appear in our fiscal agent's system, but please reach out if you haven't received a receipt from us. And if your organization's dues payments were returned by the Post Office, don't despair!  Please resend them to Tobacco Free Mass' new mailing address: Tobacco Free Mass, PO Box 380944, Cambridge, MA  02238.

    Upcoming Tobacco Free Mass Meetings

    Can't wait to see you at our upcoming meetings! Remember, we'll meet remotely for the foreseeable future.

    July 22 – Advocacy Committee meeting from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM on Zoom. To attend the meeting, you must register, which you can do with this link.

    September 9 – Full Coalition meeting from 10:00 AM to 11:30 PM on Zoom. To attend the meeting, you must register, which you can do with this link.

    September 9 – Advocacy Committee meeting immediately following the Full Coalition meeting from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM on Zoom. To attend the meeting, you must register, which you can do with this link.

    Download TFM's Meeting Calendar for 2021

    Thanks for a great quarterly coalition meeting!

    It was great to see so many of you at the last quarterly full membership meeting on June 3! Here are the minutes of the meeting. At the meeting, Allyson Perron talked about the FDA's new ruling on menthol. Here are her slides. She also provided a list of rebuttals to industry statements about menthol bans.  Our next quarterly full coalition meeting is on September 9.

    Enjoy the summer!

    Get out there and really enjoy it!  Summer days are as fleeting as watermelons on Mars.