Massachusetts Flavored Tobacco Ban: What Changes?

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — On Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law that bans the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts is the first state in the nation to do so.

Here's what that means for consumers.

What is covered by the ban?

The bill outlaws the sale of flavored vaping cartridges. They're already outlawed temporarily under Gov. Baker's vaping product ban, but once that ends on December 11, they will be banned under this bill.

But it isn't just flavored vaping products—the law also bans menthol cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and snuff.

When does it take effect?

The vaping products are banned immediately, and have been since Gov. Baker ordered the ban back in September. As for the other flavored tobacco products, they will be banned starting June 1, 2020.

Gov. Baker Signs Bill Banning Flavored Tobacco  - Thumbnail Image

Gov. Baker Signs Bill Banning Flavored Tobacco

What other changes does the law bring?

Lawmakers added a 75 percent excise tax on all vaping products th. They've also ordered health insurers to cover counseling to help people quit using tobacco products.

What about THC and CBD vaping products?

A judge ruled Gov. Baker didn't have the authority to ban cannabis vaping products, because they were subject to regulation by the state's Cannabis Control Commission. Then, the CCC put a quarantine on those products. Eventually, once the CCC determines the safety of cannabis vaping products, consumers in Massachusetts will be able to purchase them again.

Will other states follow suit?

Other states are considering similar, permanent bans, including New York, where lawmakers are considering banning menthol cigarettes.

"I do believe that other states will follow," Baker said. "There's a tremendous amount of activity that has started since September on this issue. It's happening at the municipal level, it's happening at the state level, it's happening in many places around the country. And I do believe sometimes, somebody's gotta go first. That gives other people an opportunity to follow."

Baker said that, ideally, flavored tobacco products would be subject to a nationwide ban, and that that strategy would be more effective than "doing this one state at a time."

WBZ NewsRadio's Mike Macklin reports:

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