On Thursday, the Massachusetts Senate passed H.4196, a bill that will ban the sale of flavored tobacco products statewide, joining the House in passing the proposal and sending it to the governor for his signature.
The ban has garnered particular attention because it includes both mint and menthol on the list of prohibited flavors, something that has been seen as an attack on certain cigarette smokers.
In addition, the bill would place a new 75 percent tax on the sale of e-cigarettes. If passed, retailers who violate the ban would face a punishment including losing their state lottery retailer license.
The Senate’s vote comes just about a week after the House of Representatives approved the original version, H.4183, by a 127-31 vote.
According to a report by the State House News Service, the two chambers agreed to a compromise bill, which they are sending to Gov. Charlie Baker for his signature. If the governor signs the bill—which he has not indicated a position on—the ban would go into effect immediately as it pertains to e-cigarettes and vaping devices, while it would apply to other tobacco products on June 1, 2020.
While Baker’s position is not entirely known, he declared a public health emergency in September and put a temporary ban on the sale of vaping products in place.