Massachusetts Vapers Fight Off a Flavor Ban

Massachusetts vapers encouraged the State Senate to withdraw their flavor ban amendment minutes before the vote went to constituents.

The amendment to the proposed Tobacco 21 law would have prohibited sales of flavored e-liquid — either in bottles or pods and cartridges — much like the flavor bans passed in San Francisco and recently proposed in Chicago.

The amendment to the Tobacco 21 bill was filed just two days before the scheduled vote, and the sponsor hoped it would ride to success along with the extremely popular ban on tobacco sales to under 21 year olds. The flavor ban amendment bypassed the usual committee process and no opportunity for public comment was scheduled.

Calls and emails from vapers forced the amendment’s sponsor, Sen. John Keenan of Quincy, to withdraw his legislation. That didn’t stop him from making a long, fact-free speech about the horrors of teen e-cigarette use before the bill was voted on by the full Senate.

The bill that passed the Massachusetts Senate prohibits sales of all tobacco products (including vapes) to those under 21. It also bans sales (including vapes) in pharmacies, and makes vaping illegal anywhere smoking is prohibited. The vote was 33-3 in favor of the law. The bill will now be reconciled in a conference committee with the already-passed House version, then sent to the governor to be signed into law.

The Tobacco 21 movement has been especially successful in Massachusetts, with more than 175 cities and counties already prohibiting sales to those under 21. In fact, Massachusetts represents more than half of all the cities across the country that have passed Tobacco 21 laws. If the governor signs the bill, Massachusetts will become the sixth state to pass a Tobacco 21 law, joining California, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, and Oregon.