Massachusetts

Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress


5/10/2017 – Over 150 cities and counties have passed Tobacco 21 in Massachusetts, covering over 60% of the state’s population.
1/23/2017 – Senator Jason Lewis and 28 other co-sponsors introduce Senate Bill 1218. The bill would increase the minimum legal sales age of all tobacco products from 18 to 21 statewide; referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health.
12/1/2016 – Over 140 cities have passed Tobacco 21 in Massachusetts
8/1/2016 – Over 130 cities have passed Tobacco 21 in Massachusetts
7/1/2016 – Over 120 cities have passed Tobacco 21 in Massachusetts
6/1/2016 – Over 110 cities have passed Tobacco 21 in Massachusetts
4/26/2016 – Senate Bill 2152 passes Senate by overwhelming 32-2 margin
3/3/2016 – Senate Bill 2152 introduced, which would raise Massachusetts tobacco sales age to 21
3/1/2016 – 100 cities in Massachusetts have passed Tobacco 21
11/4/2015 – Attleboro becomes 80th city in Massachusetts to adopt Tobacco 21
10/19/2015 – Lee, Lennox, Stockbridge become 77th, 78th, and 79th cities in Massachusetts to adopt Tobacco 21
9/15/2015 – Shelburne becomes 76th city in Massachusetts to adopt Tobacco 21
8/27/2015 – Peabody becomes 75th city in Massachusetts to adopt Tobacco 21
7/29/2015 – Millis becomes 74th city in Massachusetts to adopt Tobacco 21
7/22/2015 – Charlemont becomes 73rd city in Massachusetts to adopt Tobacco 21
7/21/2015 – Wilmington becomes 72nd city in Massachusetts to adopt Tobacco 21
7/14/2015 – Whately becomes 71st city in Massachusetts to adopt Tobacco 21
7/14/2015 – Medfield becomes 70th city in Massachusetts to adopt Tobacco 21
7/13/2015 – Williamstown becomes 69th city in Massachusetts to adopt Tobacco 21
7/7/2015 – Brewster becomes 68th city in Massachusetts to adopt Tobacco 21

Massachusetts is an inspiring case in the effort to raise the tobacco age to 21. This began in the town of Needham, where the tobacco age was set at 21 in 2005. The result was an immediate, significant drop in both current use and frequent use of cigarettes among youth, compared to both their previous rate, and the rates of surrounding communities.

This drop occurred despite the relative ease of finding alternative sources of cigarettes, as the neighboring towns had not yet enacted similar measures. Since then, a growing number of communities in Massachusetts have followed Needham’s path, primarily due to the work of Dr. Jonathan Winickoff and Dr. Lester Hartman. Simply by presenting the case for Tobacco 21 to local health boards, Dr. Winickoff and Dr. Hartman have helped institute a tobacco age of 21 in over 120 different communities around Massachusetts (See Map). The success that these two have had helps illustrate the potential influence of a small group advocates in implementing Tobacco 21. Thanks to their efforts, Tobacco 21 is now supported by Tobacco Free Mass, and a statewide bill was introduced in 2015, 2016, and 2017 all with dozens of sponsors.

Senate Bill 1218: 2017 bill to raise the tobacco age to 21 in Massachusetts

Senate Bill 2152: 2016 bill to raise the tobacco age to 21 in Massachusetts

House Bill 2021: 2015 bill to raise the tobacco age to 21 in Massachusetts

Read more about the strategies Dr. Winickoff and Dr. Hartman use for presenting the Tobacco 21 case to local governments here:

Tobacco 21 Massachusetts Toolkit

While the slight majority of the population still lies outside these jurisdictions, the momentum is encouraging. Currently, Massachusetts has an well below national average rate of high school smoking, they also boast a below average rate of adult smoking. However, there are still an estimated 103,000 children now under the age of 18 that will eventually die early due to smoking, with 2,800 children becoming daily smokers each year.

The result is an annual health care cost of $4.08 billion that is directly caused by smoking. Complimenting the efforts of these local governments is the state’s per pack tax of $3.51, one of the highest in the nation. The state currently only spends 10.8% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention, but the low-cost approach of local government regulation helps offset the negative effects of this lack of funding.

For further information, you may contact:

April Seliga
Eastern Region Director
Tobacco 21
April.Seliga@Tobacco21.org

Kevin O’Flaherty
Played a direct role in shaping NYC’s historic T21 legislation.
Director Northeastern Region
Tobacco Free Kids
KOflaherty@Tobaccofreekids.Org

Ken Farbstein, MPP
Grassroots Campaign Coordinator
Tobacco Free Mass
Ken.Farbstein@cancer.org

Jonathan Winickoff, MD
Leading the multiple local health board efforts toward tobacco at age 21
Associate Professor Harvard University
Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy
Jwinickoff@Mgh.Harvard.Edu

Lester Hartman, MD
Leading multiple local health board efforts toward tobacco at age 21
Medical Home Director
Westwood Mansfied Pediatric Associates
www.wmpeds.com
Lester.Hartman@Childrens.Harvard.Edu

Visit our sources:

Tobacco Free Kids Massachusetts: “The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.”

American Lung Association State Report Card/a>: “The ALA ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2014.”

SLATI State Information Massachusetts: “SLATI (State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues) is an extensively researched and invaluable source of information on tobacco control laws and policy, and is the only up-to-date and comprehensive summary of state tobacco control laws.”


The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids support these four principles for Tobacco 21 ordinances:

1) Include all tobacco and nicotine products, specifically e-cigarettes. The only exceptions would be FDA recognized nicotine replacement products (gum, patch, etc.) intended for cessation.
2) Include significant enforcement provisions against illegal sales as research shows that consistent enforcement is of critical importance.
3) Not include any pre-emption against local authority in more stringent regulation of tobacco or other nicotine product sales, secondhand smoke, or e-cigarette vapor.
4) Ideally not include possession, usage, or purchase (PUP) penalties that result in criminal records, and instead place the onus on the purveyors of these addictive products

We welcome your comments and suggestions: Contact Us