Massachusetts Senate to debate ban on flavored tobacco

November 17, 2019

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate is poised to debate a bill that would ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products while also imposing a new 75% excise tax on nicotine vaping products.

The bill was recently approved by the House. The Senate is expected to debate their own proposed amendments to the measure on Wednesday.

The ban would also apply to menthol cigarettes — a decision that has rankled some convenience store owners.

Under the proposal, commercial health insurers and MassHealth would be required to cover tobacco cessation counseling and all nicotine replacement therapies. Generic versions would be offered without cost-sharing to the consumer.

Supporters of the bill say their goal is to protect young people from the harmful effects of tobacco.

In Massachusetts, 9,300 adults die annually from smoking.