Thanks to Marcela García for exposing the latest but likely not the last effort by Big Tobacco to target our youth with another slickly designed dangerously addictive product (“Big Tobacco’s relentless reimagining of the cigarette returns to Beacon Hill,” Opinion, July 31). As the sponsors of the 2019 law — the first in the nation — banning flavored tobacco products, we anticipated these efforts and drafted the ban to include this type of product. Our colleagues in the Legislature overwhelmingly supported the ban; therefore, it is no surprise that the two recent bills that García mentions, which would exempt certain tobacco products from the ban, have failed to attract even a single cosponsor. The bills sit in the Joint Committee on Public Health, and we are confident that the committee members will protect the well-being of the state’s young people by not advancing these bills through the legislative process.
The Legislature passed the flavored tobacco products ban to improve the lives of all Massachusetts residents. We — advocates, young people, and governmental officials of both parties — will not allow Big Tobacco to carve out egregious exemptions permitting products that addict, sicken, and ultimately kill our family members, friends, and neighbors.
State Senator John F. Keenan
State Representative Danielle W. Gregoire