Mass. House passes bill banning flavored tobacco, vape products

Flavored vaping solutions are shown in a window display at a vape and smoke shop, Monday Sept. 16, 2019, in New York. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing to enact a statewide ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes amid growing health concerns of vaping. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

BOSTON — The Massachusetts House on Tuesday passed legislation banning flavored vaping and tobacco products, including menthol and mint flavors, with the bill scheduled for further consideration in the House on Wednesday.

In a 126-31 vote, the bill (H 4183) passed just before 5 p.m.

Convenience store owners have been protesting the possible inclusion of a ban on menthol for weeks, while public health advocates called menthol's inclusion necessary to discourage youth smoking.

[Hundreds of convenience stores to close in protest of proposed Mass. menthol ban]

The bill, dubbed An Act Modernizing Tobacco Control, includes an excise tax on electronic nicotine delivery systems at a rate of 75% of the wholesale price. It also calls for increased access to cessation services.

The American Cancer Society Action Network (ACS CAN) on Tuesday gave the bill a favorable review, calling it "historic" and "comprehensive."

"The Commonwealth has long been a leader in fighting Big Tobacco, and if passed in its current form, this bill would set Massachusetts apart from the rest of the nation in the steps it has taken to protect its kids from the risk of deadly tobacco addiction," Marc Hymovitz, state director of ACS CAN, said in a statement.