February 7th was the last day for reports to be made from joint committees, except Health Care Financing, and thousands of bills were on the move. Some of the good and the bad are listed below. The good list includes closing loopholes on taxes and for expanding MassHealth tobacco cessation coverage.

TFM Priority Bills:

  • An act providing Medicaid coverage for tobacco cessation programs. H1169/S768 (Barber/Lewis) has been referred to the Joint Committee on Healthcare Financing and has another month to leave that committee. 
  • An Act protecting youth from nicotine addiction H2763/S1848 (Decker/Keenan) was sent to study. However, this issue is still in play - working to update the definition of tobacco products/smokeless tobacco and capture nicotine products, like nicotine pouches to close the tax loophole. Discussions will continue.  
Other Bills of Note:
  • An Act relative to tobacco harm reduction, to exempt “modified risk products” from the flavor ban law (H2141/S1345) - was sent to study. 
  • An Act to repeal the state menthol ban (S1364) - was sent to study.
  • An Act relative to local boards of health and the sale of legal tobacco products in the Commonwealth (H2166) - was sent to study.
  • An Act relative to small businesses and the sale of certain cultural products, "hookah exemption" from the flavor ban law (S205) was reported favorably out of committee. Will keep an eye on this bill.

 News you can use

  • New research finds that menthol cigarette bans are effective at getting people to quit smoking, according to an article published on 2/21 in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research. 
  • The recently released 22nd annual American Lung Association "State of Tobacco Control" report evaluates states and the federal government on the proven-effective tobacco control laws and policies necessary to save lives. This year's report highlights the failure of the Biden administration to finalize rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.  

  • LTE in the Boston Globe by the TFM Coalition on February 9th.
  • A February 15th article in STAT reveals Juul’s internal playbook and opens a rare window into influence in Washington.
  • According to a February 9th CNN article, Zyn nicotine pouches are "flying off the shelves" as Big Tobacco shifts their focus away from cigarettes to smokeless alternatives.
    • On January 18th advocates, civil rights leaders and medical professionals joined the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council's (AATCLC) "Menthol Funeral" in Washington, DC to call on the White House to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. Watch the event here.
    • The rate of e-cigarette use increased more than fivefold among adolescents in late pregnancy from 2016 to 2021, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open. December 13, 2023.

    What you can do

    • Tell the White House you support eliminating menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. Click this link to send a message to the White House.

    • Nominations are being accepted for the 2024 Blake Cady Award for Leadership in Tobacco Control. TFM presents this award each year to an individual who has contributed greatly to the tobacco control movement in Massachusetts. Click here to nominate someone today!

    Upcoming Meetings & Events

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

    Thursday, March 28th, 12:30 PM - Tobacco Free Mass Open House, held online. Click to download the flyer and share with colleagues and/or partner agencies about how they can become a member of the coalition that advocates for tobacco prevention and control policies. Learn more about our mission and meet other members.

    Tuesday, April 2nd - 2024 Kick Butts Day (KBD).  On Tuesday, April 2nd we look forward to seeing the youth of Massachusetts at the State House for a Youth Day of Action. Join youth from the 84 Movement and community leaders to learn about the influence of the tobacco and vaping industries in their communities. Hear directly from youth and what they care about most, what they are doing about it, and how you can help. Save the date.

    Trainings & Opportunities

    Join the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at UCSF for the next live webinar, “Navigating the Intersection of Tobacco and Opioid Use Disorder” on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, at 2:00 pm EST (60 minutes). 

    The Tobacco Online Policy Seminar (TOPS) continues its 2024 Winter/Spring series. 

    It's About a Billion Lives Symposium - Annual Symposium on Tobacco Control, in-person or online, on Friday, April 26, 2024.  This event is co-presented by the UCSF Smoking Cessation Leadership Center & the UCSF Multiethnic Health Equity Research Center.

    The HEADstrong Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, working to improve the quality of life for those affected by cancer is seeking a full-time Community Engagement Specialist

    “Good progress has been made in tobacco control in recent years, but there is no time for complacency. I’m astounded at the depths the tobacco industry will go to pursue profits at the expense of countless lives. We see that the minute a government thinks they have won the fight against tobacco the tobacco industry seizes the opportunity to manipulate health policies and sell their deadly products," 

    - Dr. Ruediger Krech, Director of WHO Department of Health Promotion, January 16, 2024

    Only 26 days until Spring!


    Lisa Phillips

    Tobacco Coalition Director

    m: (617) 795-4129

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