We at the coalition Tobacco Free Mass were heartened to see your editorial on reversing the teen vaping epidemic (“Tax e-cigarettes and ban flavored tobacco products,” May 20). This is the moment to act on these important public health strategies. Key legislation is currently being considered on Beacon Hill, and it is our strong recommendation that it move forward quickly. We have seen enough strong evidence from educators, pediatricians, and young people to know that we cannot afford to delay.
These strategies will be even more effective when the Commonwealth’s Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program receives a level of funding that would allow it to run comprehensive educational campaigns, help current nicotine users quit, and fully enforce youth tobacco prevention laws. This program was instrumental in reducing youth cigarette smoking rates to nearly 5 percent and is essential to eradicating the youth vaping epidemic.
The pending legislation presents the opportunity to save a new generation of young people from becoming addicted to these cheap nicotine products, created in flavors that appeal to young people, including mint, mango, and cotton candy. We must seize this opportunity now to prevent more young people from facing the burden of lifelong addiction.
Dr. Lauren A. Smith
Dr. Dennis M. Dimitri
Tobacco Free Mass