HCN News & Notes

Massachusetts Joins States Preventing Tobacco Sales to Youth Under 21

BOSTON — Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law legislation that will increase the statewide age of sale for tobacco products — including e-cigarettes — from 18 to 21, include e-cigarettes in the smoke-free workplace law, and prohibit the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.

The action “builds on our state’s longstanding progress in tobacco prevention,” said Marc Hymovitz, Government Relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “Thanks to Gov. Baker’s support, our lawmakers’ hard work, and our advocates’ persistence, Massachusetts will now become the sixth state in the country to limit sales of tobacco products to those over the age of 21. This also makes the Commonwealth a leader in the nation, becoming the first to implement a statewide ban on the sale of tobacco in pharmacies.

“We know the tobacco industry uniquely targets young people to replace consumers dying from their products, and too many of our children are becoming addicted before they even have a chance to grow up,” he went on. “But if kids don’t pick up a tobacco addiction during their vulnerable adolescent and teenage years, they’ll be less likely to do it when they’re 21. This legislation has the potential to reduce smoking rates in our state and ensure our kids live longer, healthier lives.”

Deborah Brown, chief mission officer of the American Lung Assoc., praised the move as an important one for statewide public-health policy.

“We are proud to congratulate Gov. Baker and the Massachusetts Legislature on taking this important step to protect young people from beginning a dangerous addiction to tobacco,” she said, “and to protect Massachusetts residents and visitors of all ages from exposure to e-cigarette emissions.”

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