MASSACHUSETTS

 

TOBACCO HARM REDUCTION 101: MASSACHUSETTS

January 7, 2020

Key Points: 

  • Massachusetts’s vaping industry provided more than $333 million in economic activity in 2018 while generating 1,425 vaping-related jobs. Sales of disposables and prefilled cartridges in Massachusetts exceeded $18.8 million in 2016.

  • As of December 26, MDPH has reported 105 cases of vaping-related lung illnesses and includes information on age, gender, and substances vaped. 60 percent of Massachusetts patients reported vaping THC. MDPH earns an A-ranking for its reporting on vaping-related lung illnesses.

  • In 2017, only 2.1 percent of Massachusetts high school students reported daily use of vapor products. More data is needed.

  • Only 2 percent of FDA retail compliance checks resulted in sales of e-cigarettes to minors from January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019.

  • Massachusetts spends very little on tobacco prevention. In 2019, Massachusetts dedicated only $4.2 million on tobacco control, or less than 1 percent of what the state received in tobacco settlement payments and taxes.

MASSACHUSETTS
ANTI-VAPING BILLS WILL VAPORIZE HARM REDUCTION

November 18, 2019
  • Legislation would ban the sales of flavored e-cigarettes, as well as apply a draconian excise tax on these tobacco harm reduction products.  

  • H 4196 would ban the sale of e-cigarettes with “characterizing flavors,” including flavors “relating to any fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, menthol, mint, wintergreen, herb, or spice.

    • Law enforcement is authorized to “seize and take possession of” e-cigarettes in violation of the ban, as well as “a motor vehicle, boat or airplane in which the [e-cigarettes] are contained or transported.”

  • S 2407, an amendment to H 4196, imposes a wholesale tax at 75 percent at the time that e-cigarettes and vaping devices are “manufactured, purchased, imported, received, or acquired in the commonwealth.”

    • S 2407 also enacts a nicotine limit, requiring e-cigarettes’ nicotine content be no “greater than 20 milligrams per milliliter.”

  • The Heartland Institute analyzed results from the 2017-18 California Youth Tobacco Survey (CYTS) and found that despite flavor restrictions in some localities, youth use of e-cigarettes in those areas increased after the bans went into place.

    • Santa Clara County, California, banned flavored tobacco product sales to age-restricted stores in 2014. Despite this, youth e-cigarette use increased while the ban was in effect. For example, in the 2015-16 CYTS, 7.5 percent of Santa Clara high school students reported current use of e-cigarettes. In the 2017-18 CYTS, this increased to 10.7 percent.

  • Another Heartland analysis examined the effects of Pennsylvania’s 40 percent wholesale tax, which went into effect in 2016. The analysis noted that in 2015, that 27 percent of Pennsylvania 12th graders had used an e-cigarette. This increased to 29.3 percent in 2017.

  • A 2018 survey of nearly 70,000 American adults noted 83.2 percent and 72.3 percent of survey respondents reported vaping fruit and dessert flavors, respectively. Further, only 20 percent of respondents reported using tobacco flavors at point of e-cigarette initiation.

  • The vaping industry employs “approximately 2,530” Massachusetts’ citizens including eight “nicotine-vapor products manufacturers, [one] nicotine-liquid-mixture manufacturers and 221 retail vape shops.

    • Vaping companies and “their employees contribute nearly $19 million in state taxes.”

    • E-cigarettes in Massachusetts are subject to sales taxes that “generate about $10.7 million annually.”

  • Lawmakers should allocate additional funding from tobacco moneys on tobacco control programs.

MISGUIDED MASSACHUSETTS BAN IS A WET BLANKET ON TOBACCO HARM REDUCTION

October 9, 2019
  • On September 24, 2019, Massachusetts became the first start to ban all vaping products, including devices containing nicotine, tobacco, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Gov. Charlie Baker “called for a temporary four-month statewide ban” while authorities attempt to “identify” the cause of recent vaping-related hospitalizations.

  • A unilateral ban on all vaping devices will likely do more harm than good. Why? Because health departments throughout America have linked vaping-related lung illness to the use of illegal and counterfeit vaping devices containing THC

  • In a late September, 2019 report, the CDC found that 76.9 percent of self-reporting patients “reported using THC-containing products.

  • Perhaps the most infamous of these black-market products is Dank Vapes.

  • In an instance of stunning hypocrisy, Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito emphasized the need to “educate youth and parents about the dangers of vaping.

    • Massachusetts spends almost none of the enormous funds it receives from tobacco settlement moneys on such programs.

    • In 2019, the Bay State received an estimated $864.5 million in tobacco settlement payments and taxes, yet spent a pathetically low $4.2 million, or 0.04 percent on tobacco education and prevention programs.

  • Massachusetts raised the cigarette tax by a $1 per pack in 2013. From 2013 to 2016, the Bay State collected an additional $542 million in cigarette taxes, “none of the cigarette revenue [went] directly into anti-smoking programs.”

ATTENTION BAY STATE LAWMAKERS: SIN TAXES DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD

May 30, 2019
  • Massachusetts legislators recently introduced companion legislation to protect “youth from nicotine addiction,” by increasing the excise tax on cigarettes and cigars, as well as enacting a new tax on vapor products.

  • S.1606 and H.2436 would increase the Bay State’s cigarette tax by 50 cents, to $4.01 per pack. The proposals would also double the excise tax on cigars, from 40 percent to 80 percent of the wholesale price.

  • Both bills would also create a tax on e-cigarettes, “including any component, part, or accessory of such device,” at the rate of 75 percent of the wholesale price.

  • The tax on vaping products would not include batteries and chargers, which are sold separately.

  • There is no evidence vaping taxes will stop youth use of these products.

  • In 2016, Pennsylvania enacted a 40 percent wholesale tax on vaping products.

    • A Heartland Institute analysis on the effects of Pennsylvania’s wholesale tax on youth e-cigarette use found young Pennsylvanians in middle and high school actually increased their use of e-cigarettes in the period following the tax’s implementation.

    • Notably, e-cigarette use among 10th and 12th graders increased from 20.4 and 27 percent, respectively, in 2015 to 21.9 and 29.3 percent in 2017.

  • Lower income persons are disproportionately impacted by cigarette tax increases.

    • A Cato Journal article found from 2010 to 2011, “smokers earning less than $30,000 per year spent 14.2 percent of their household income on cigarettes, compared to 4.3 percent for smokers earning between $30,000 and $59,999 and 2 percent for smokers earning more than $60,000.”

    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes Americans with only a high school diploma smoke for a period that is “more than twice as many years as people with at least a bachelor’s degree.”

  • Additionally, increased cigarette taxes will undoubtedly lead to more cigarette smuggling.

  • Researchers at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy found that after Massachusetts’ last cigarette tax increase, cigarette smuggling increased from 12 percent in 2013 to 29.3 percent in 2014.

  • Massachusetts dedicates very little funding on tobacco prevention and cessation efforts. In 2018, the Bay State received an estimated $884 million in tobacco settlement payments and taxes, yet only allocated $3.7 million, less than one percent, to tobacco prevention programs.

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©2020 by Tobacco Harm Reduction 101.