Urges legislators to look at flavored tobacco crisis as a whole.
The Governor’s e-cigarette ban is an excellent first step and is a necessary pause while health officials determine the causes of the recently emerged vaping-related lung illnesses, which have primarily affected teens and young adults. We understand that this step is temporary and it is limited to e-cigarettes and other vape products. The logical next step is to enact a permanent fix to address the larger problem of youth tobacco use: ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products.
We already know that youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to use other tobacco products, including cigarettes. So, as the Governor’s ban will temporarily protect youth from vaping, we need to ensure that young people who have been exposed to flavored vape products don’t turn to menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products as a substitute.
“We need to see the youth vaping crisis in the context of the entire flavored tobacco crisis, said Lauren Smith, MD, MPH, Chair of Tobacco Free Mass. “They’re not separate things—they’re a part of a whole. And if we’re going to solve the e-cigarette epidemic, we need to solve the flavored tobacco problem as a whole.”
Tobacco Free Mass supports legislation filed by Senator John Keenan and Representative Danielle Gregoire ( SB 2357 and HB 4089) that would ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol. The legislation includes all flavored e-cigarette and other flavored vape products.
“The tobacco industry has targeted young people with flavored tobacco products for long enough,” said Lauren Smith, MD, MPH. “We can end the youth vaping crisis and the health problems associated with it, but we need to use a comprehensive approach.”