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Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in Massachusetts. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association calls for the following actions to be taken by Massachusetts's elected officials:

  1. Fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended level;
  2. Enact legislation prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products; and
  3. Pass a significant increase on the tax on cigarettes.
The Lung Association scored a big win in Massachusetts during the 2018 legislative session with the passage of legislation to raise the retail sales age of tobacco products to 21 statewide. Massachusetts was an early pioneer of the initiative with over 150 localities in the state passing ordinances; however, statewide efforts had been stymied in past years. In addition to raising the retail sales age, the same comprehensive tobacco control legislation added electronic cigarettes to the state's smokefree workplace law and prohibits tobacco sale in pharmacies. Massachusetts is the first state to prohibit tobacco sales in pharmacies statewide, and local communities were also trailblazers by approving local ordinances on this issue prior to state action.

Another small legislative victory was realized in Massachusetts when the Governor signed the state budget bill into law, which included a $500,000 increase in funding for tobacco control programs. This means the increased state funding is now officially in place for the current state fiscal year (2019). However, funding remains far short of historical levels as well as the CDC-recommended level in Massachusetts.

The American Lung Association in Massachusetts will continue to work with our state coalition partners to advance tobacco control and prevention efforts and defend our successful programs and smokefree policies against rollbacks. As the legislature begins its work in 2019 we will continue to grow our coalition to educate policy makers, business leaders and the media of the importance of the American Lung Association's goals to reduce tobacco use and protect public health

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