American Lung Association Praises the Massachusetts Legislature on Passing Comprehensive Tobacco Control Legislation
Lung Association Urges Governor to Quickly Sign into Law, Making Massachusetts the 6th State to Raise the Age of Sale to 21
(July 20, 2018) - BOSTON
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The American Lung Association congratulates and thanks the Massachusetts Legislature for voting on and passing HB 4486, following its approval in the House on July 18, 2018 by 32-3 in the Senate and 143 to 3 in the House. The legislation includes increasing the sales age for tobacco from 18 to 21, adding e-cigarettes to the smokefree workplace law, and prohibiting the sale of tobacco in healthcare facilities including pharmacies. Deborah Brown, Chief Mission Officer of the American Lung Association, issued a statement praising the move as an important one for statewide public health policy:
"Massachusetts is poised to be the 6th state in the nation to enact legislation to raise the age of sale of tobacco products to 21. This bill will not only protect our young people from beginning a dangerous addiction to tobacco, but it includes safeguards for public health by restricting the use of e-cigarettes and the public's exposure to e-cigarette emissions. Additionally, the removal of tobacco from pharmacy shelves helps reduce the consumption, availability, and visibility of these products in our local communities – and supports current smokers who want to quit.
"To date, California, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey and Oregon have statewide laws requiring consumers to be 21 years of age to purchase tobacco products. State legislatures in Illinois and Massachusetts have passed legislation, and are awaiting action from their Governors. According to the American Lung Association"s 2018 "State of Tobacco Control" report, over 29 percent of Massachusetts high school students reported using tobacco products. Nearly 95 percent of adult smokers report trying their first cigarette before the age of 21.
"In addition to the harm posed by traditional tobacco products, recently released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that e-cigarettes remained the most commonly used tobacco product among youth in the U.S. in 2017. The use of electronic cigarettes, e-cigars, e-hookahs and similar products across the state have dramatically increased, and without updated smokefree laws, patrons of all ages are increasingly exposed to secondhand emissions from electronic cigarettes on public transportation, in bars and restaurants, at sporting events, concerts and in public libraries.
"This statewide law grew from local governments raising the age of sale in their communities - and it will now play an important role in increasing their efficacy. We are proud to see Massachusetts return to a leading national role on public health policy. We are grateful to Representative McMurtry and Senator Lewis for their leadership on this issue, and we urge Governor Baker to quickly sign this bill into law."
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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