Tobacco Free Mass Statement on Governor Baker’s Proposed FY 2020 Budget

We applaud Governor Baker for his efforts to address the vaping epidemic that Big Tobacco has brought on our youth.  While we would like to see a higher excise tax on all electronic cigarettes and other vaping products than the one the Governor proposes, this is a great first step in the discussion.  Big Tobacco has not gone away and continues to work to hook new generations of kids on their addictive products.  That is why we are disappointed at the Governor’s cut in funding to the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program, at a time when communities are turning to the program for help handling the very epidemic the Governor acknowledges and tries to address with the e-cigarette excise tax. 

Background:

  • There is currently no excise tax on e-cigarettes and other vape products.  Governor Baker’s budget includes an e-cigarette tax at the rate of 40% of wholesale.  Tobacco Free Mass would like the rate to be 75% of wholesale.
  • 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 budget line is 4590-0300.
  • Tobacco Free Mass is a privately-funded coalition that advocates for funding and policies that support tobacco prevention and cessation and the reduction of  exposure to secondhand smoke. The coalition was formed in 1991 to pass Question One, which raised the state’s tobacco excise tax to fund, in part, the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program and other public health initiatives.