NECSEMA Executive Director reflects on first anniversary of Massachusetts flavored tobacco ban

BOSTON – June 1 marked one year since Massachusetts’ ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products came into effect. The legislation made Bay State the first in the country to ban flavors statewide.

However, the New England Convenience Store and Energy Marketers Association (NECSMA) questions the effectiveness of the legislation.

In an opinion piece in the Boston HeraldJonathan Shaer, executive director of NECSMA, called the ban a “failed policy”. According to Shaer, since its implementation, state gas has lost more than $ 140 million on menthol cigarettes alone.

“During the legislative debate in 2019, we warned that a billion dollars in demand for flavored tobacco existed in Massachusetts and where there is demand there is a market. The only question would be where the products would be sold, ”he wrote. “The answer was either through the state’s legal, authorized, regulated, enforced and taxed framework, or illegally and untaxed – on state borders, online or on the black market. Now, thanks to Massachusetts’ misguided policy is the latter. “

He pointed out that the measure was implemented even though Massachusetts had a 95% FDA-verified retailer compliance rate statewide and neighboring New Hampshire is the exporting state of cigarettes no. ° 1.

“A year later and with 11 months of data on sales of publicly available excise tax stamps on cigarettes, presumptions give way to facts. Massachusetts lost more than $ 140 million while New Hampshire and Rhode Island raised nearly $ 44 million and $ 25 million in new tax revenue. respectively, ”Shaer wrote. “Worse, the Ocean State and the Granite State have combined to sell 88% of the cigarettes that are no longer sold in Massachusetts. Yes, nearly nine out of 10 cigarettes once sold in Massachusetts are now sold by New Hampshire and Rhode Island, most of which are brought into Massachusetts for personal consumption or illegal sale. “

A few other states have adopted similar bans. Maryland lawmakers voted against a flavor ban, and Connecticut lawmakers amended a proposal to include only vapor-based products.

California voters will decide the future of the state’s flavored tobacco ban in the November 2022 general election.

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