Fall 2023

Today we recognize the Great American Smokeout. A day dedicated to encouraging smokers to quit. For more than 40 years, the American Cancer Society has hosted the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November. Research shows that people who smoke are most successful in their efforts to stop smoking when they have support.

Tobacco Free Mass presented its 2023 Blake Cady Award for Leadership in Tobacco Control to Patti Henley, the recently retired Director of the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. This award is presented annually to an individual who has contributed greatly to the tobacco control movement in Massachusetts.

  TFM Legislative Priorities

  • Cigarette and Cigar Tax:  Sen. John Keenan and Rep. Marjorie Decker filed bills that would increase the cigarette tax by $1.00 and increase the cigar tax from 40% to 80% of wholesale. Increases in tobacco prices through taxes have been shown to decrease tobacco use, especially among young people. These bills had a hearing on September 12th in front of the Joint Committee on Revenue.
  • Closing the MassHealth cessation benefit loophole: Sen. Jason Lewis and Rep. Christine Barber filed bills that would expand access to tobacco cessation counseling by allowing new categories of professionals to bill MassHealth for tobacco cessation, including dentists, behavioral and mental health counselors, and certified tobacco use cessation counselors. These bills had a hearing on October 17th in front of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. TFM submitted written testimony.
  • Fighting bad bills: There were bills filed that would repeal or weaken Massachusetts' strong state and local laws. An Act to repeal the state menthol ban and an act relative to tobacco harm-reduction were both heard before the Joint Committee on Public Health on July 6th. Tobacco Free Mass and member organizations submitted written testimony in opposition. 

News you can use

  • Creating a "tobacco-free generation". Click here to read the latest on the Brookline law referred to as the "tobacco-free generation".
  • The American Lung Association recently presented their latest signature report, "State of Lung Cancer". In its 6th annual edition, this report delves deep into state-specific measures of lung cancer indicators which include new cases, survival, early diagnosis, surgical treatment, lack of treatment, Medicaid screening coverage data, radon and screening rates. Massachusetts State of Lung Cancer 2023.

  • Significant decline in e-cigarette use among high school students indicates progress, yet challenges persist in youth tobacco prevention. On November 3rd the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS). The NYTS datasets are available for public use, so that researchers and public health managers can compare their estimates of prevalence of youth tobacco use with national data.

  • In a new, biennial report on the status of cancer disparities in the U.S., the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Disparities Report shows that Non-Metropolitan Areas, People of Lower Socioeconomic Status, Black and American Indian/Alaska Native People Carry Highest Cancer Burden. The findings are published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

  • The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) ran an ad campaign in Massachusetts this October to recognize Representative Pressley for her leadership and support of the FDA's action to eliminate menthol cigarettes. The ad was designed to lean into the notion of superheroes – thanking her for being a Hero for Healthy Kids and CommunitiesClick to see a copy of the adFull page ads ran in the Boston Globe and Baystate Banner (10/26).

What you can do

  • The TFM Membership Committee is working to recruit new members. As the overall rate of tobacco use has decreased, the disparities between the state average and groups with high rates of tobacco use have become more pronounced. This situation is a crisis caused by a combination of tobacco industry targeting and the disproportionate burden of health problems caused by systemic and institutional racism and other structural inequities. To properly respond, we need engagement and leadership from disproportionately affected groups. Contact us if you would like more information or to recruit/recommend an organization or individual for TFM membership. Click to view the TFM Value Proposition.

Tobacco Free Mass Meetings

Mark your calendar. The next TFM Full Coalition meeting is scheduled for the first Thursday in December. Join us to learn more about nicotine pouches, the Brookline "tobacco-free generation" law, what's happening locally & nationally, and more.

December 7th – Full Coalition meeting from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM on Zoom. To attend the meeting, you must register, click this link.


A Celebration of Life for Dr. Blake Cady was held on November 5th.  Below is a passage from the eulogy delivered by Dr. Howard Koh remembering his friend and colleague, Dr. Blake Cady. To learn more about the story of TFM and the distinguished Dr. Cady, I encourage you to read this inspiring tribute in its entirety.

"Once in a generation, someone extraordinary will enter your world and leave you forever changed. He will show you that you do not have to accept the status quo as acceptable. He will convince you to stand for something --so you don’t fall for anything.  He will tell you that the world actually can be a better place and that sometimes the little guy can win—David can actually beat Goliath.  For all of us in this room, for all of us in Massachusetts and for so many more nationwide —that person is our dear Dr Blake Cady, whose life and legacy we celebrate today."  To read more...

By Howard Koh MD MPH

Wishing you all the best this holiday season!


Lisa Phillips

Tobacco Coalition Director

m: (617) 795-4129

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