Advocacy Action Center

MA Legislature to Take Up Flavor Tobacco Ban
The Massachusetts Senate is poised to take action next week on legislation which would restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products to licensed smoking bars for on-site consumption only.  S.2357, An Act Regulating Flavored Tobacco Products, would effectively ban an entire product category from being sold at retail to adult consumers.  As written, the ban would apply to both traditional and electronic products and include mint and menthol flavors, which have historically been excluded from such bans when adopted locally. 

The proposal is an overreach by special interest groups who are leveraging the current concerns associated with vape products, and the increase in teen vape use, to justify banning not only vape products but traditional combustible products as well.  

The proposal to remove this entire category of product comes only a year removed from Massachusetts increasing the purchase age for tobacco products to 21, a measure touted as the answer to the youth access problem.  It also comes at a time when the Commonwealth is already under a four month ban on the sale of all vape products, the FDA is finalizing rules to ban flavored vape products at the federal level, and vape manufacturers are already voluntarily discontinuing such flavored product lines.

RAM tobacco seller members are urged to contact their legislators to let them know of the negative impact this would have on your business.  Include mention of reduced choices for consumers, lost sales for small businesses (both direct and ancillary sales) and hundreds of millions in lost tax dollars for the state. 

Also remind them that they just increased the purchase age to 21 and that the law should be given an opportunity to work as intended before taking steps to ban the sale of legal products to adult consumers.  And that as a responsible retailer and licensed tobacco seller, you serve as the gatekeeper against youth access--a safeguard that does not exist on the black market and on the internet. 

Urge your state Senator & Representative to support consumer choice and their local small businesses by opposing S.2357.  
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