More than 100 cancer patients, survivors and their family members jumped over Beacon Hill on Thursday to ban all flavored tobacco products, including nicotine used in weapons, and steep new taxes on e-cigarettes.
"They are marketed and sold to our youth, and our youth gets sick and they have no idea what the consequences are." Representative Danielle W. Gregoire, Marlborough Democrat and the main sponsor of the House's actions who would ban flavored e-cigarettes, told the lawyers before they sat down on their lobby blitz at the state house.
The measure has encouraged the resistance of brick-and-mortar dealers and manufacturers who say they support stopping the use of minors, but claim that a consumer ban is not the solution.
The medical battle for brewing unfolds against a backdrop of increased federal and local control of juvenile arms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that more than 3.6 million young nationwide use e-cigarettes.
The Food and Drug Administration earlier this month uncovered a new proposal that would require stores serving all ages to place flavored e-cigarettes in separate, age-restricted rooms.
In Massachusetts, a new law was kicked off this year to increase the legal age of buying tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21. And in December, Somerville became the first state government to restrict such sales, banned e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes from the shelves of shops open to young people. The new rules come into force on 1 April.
The latest data show that in 2017, 25 percent of Massachusetts reported high school students about using e-cigarettes over the past 30 days, and manufacturers are using the sweet flavors to entice kids to start using these highly addictive products, Marc said. Hymovitz, director of government in Massachusetts for the Cancer Action Network of the American Cancer Society, which organized the lobbying.
"It's pretty clear that e-cigarettes have become an epidemic," he said. "We have made such advances in reducing the number of non-smoking cigarettes, and now we are beginning to see a reversal in that trend because they are hooked on e-cigarettes," with some young people moving from weapons to smoking traditional cigarettes, Hymovitz said. .
Specifically, his group and a long list of other public health officers are supported by the legislation introduced in both the state house and the senate.
It would prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including the liquid used in e-cigarettes and other weapons equipment, except in an approved smoking bell.
The ban will apply to all flavors, including menthol, mint and wintergreen, which so far have been exempt from taste-related regulations because they are "adult" flavors. But menthol is the most popular taste among young people, says Hymovitz.
In addition to the flavored e-cigarette ban, members of the Tobacco Free Mass anti-coalition coalition also support legislation that will extend the state's tax on e-cigarettes and increase existing taxes on cigarettes and cigars. The proposal would impose a 75 percent tax on e-cigarettes, which the supporters say would bring weapons-related taxes into line with those on regular cigarettes.
The measure will go beyond the 40 percent excise duty on e-cigarettes proposed by Governor Charlie Baker as part of his state budget.
"We need income, but more importantly, we must continue to save lives," said Marjorie Decker, a Cambridge Democrat. Data show that "when you increase taxes on tobacco, you reduce the prices of new smokers coming in. It works."
An aid to Decker said her proposal to raise the existing $ 1 cigarette tax would increase $ 45 million to $ 50 million in revenue, while the new e-cigarette tax would increase $ 12 million to $ 15 million.
Massachusetts dealers push back against the bills, and are incredible that the ban on tasty products is benevolent, but misunderstood.
Dealers consider themselves part of the solution, not part of the problem, says Jon Shaer, CEO of the New England Convenience Store and the Energy Marketers Association, representing convenience stores and gas stations. He quoted the FDA data showing dealers in Massachusetts having a 94 percent compliance rate with tobacco sales laws.
He said the evidence from different flavors banned at city and city level – including in Somerville, which banned certain flavors of e-cigarettes before they extended the restrictions in December – showing such restrictions are "unfortunate".  Teenagers using e-cigarettes have remained undiminished, despite compliance rates showing that retailers are not selling the products to them, he said.
"It doesn't solve a very important problem, which is online access," he said.
The bills for the legislator also draw attention from some heavy industrial heaters. Reynolds American, one of the largest US tobacco producers, has the same concerns as FDA officials and public opinion suggested that "some steam flavors, such as those similar to" child-friendly "foods, may play a role in increasing youth appeal, a company spokesman said. marketing Vuse Alto brand e-cigarettes.
"We have never marketed such flavors," said the spokesperson.
"Whatever excessive acts, such as prohibiting the sale of certain tobacco products, adult tobacco consumers are unfairly outlawing and creating illegal markets such as damaged legitimate dealers. "
Victoria McGrane can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @ vgmac .