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Thursday February 20th, 2020 7:36PM

The Latest: Vaping industry slams ban on flavored products

By The Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — The Latest on Massachusetts becoming the first state to ban flavored tobacco and vaping products, including menthol cigarettes (all times local):

5:15p.m.

The vaping industry is criticizing Massachusetts’ new statewide ban on flavored tobacco and vaping products as the wrong approach to the problem of youth vaping.

The Vapor Technology Association says that instead of the ban, a better strategy is raising the age to purchase tobacco and nicotine vapor products to 21.

The D.C.-based trade group also suggests imposing stricter marketing standards on smoking companies, among other measures.

The organization has sued Massachusetts over its prior, temporary ban on all vaping products, flavored or unflavored. That ban is set to lift Dec. 11.

Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law Wednesday a bill that restricts the sale and use of flavored tobacco and vaping products, including menthol cigarettes, to cigar bars, hookah lounges and other licensed smoking establishments.

__

12:15 p.m.

An industry group is criticizing Massachusetts’ new statewide ban on flavored tobacco and vaping products, including menthol cigarettes, as intrusive and costly.

The New England Convenience Store and Energy Marketers Association says in a statement that the legislation Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed Wednesday will fuel the black market and cost the state millions in tax revenue.

The group says it’s considering its options to ensure that adult customers have a right to buy legal smoking products.

Baker in September declared a public health emergency and ordered a temporary ban on the sale of all vaping products.

He says he’ll keep that ban in place until Dec. 11 while his administration drafts additional regulations.

___

10:45 a.m.

Anti-smoking groups are praising the governor of Massachusetts for signing the first statewide ban on flavored tobacco and vaping products, including menthol cigarettes.

Marc Hymovitz is Massachusetts director of government relations for the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network. He says Republican Gov. Charlie Baker “made history for Massachusetts” by signing the ban into law Wednesday.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is calling the ban “a landmark victory for kids and public health over the tobacco industry.”

Campaign president Matthew Myers says Massachusetts is taking bold action as the Trump administration appears to back away from a tough nationwide approach.

Baker says states can do only so much to address the public health emergency around e-cigarettes and other vaping products.

He says it’s “increasingly clear” that the federal government “isn’t going to act decisively.”

___

10:15 a.m.

The governor of Massachusetts has signed into law a groundbreaking ban on the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products, including menthol cigarettes.

The American Cancer Society and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids say Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s signature makes Massachusetts the first to enact a permanent statewide ban.

Baker signed the legislation Wednesday morning.

The governor in September declared a public health emergency and ordered a temporary ban on the sale of all vaping products.

Baker said he’ll keep that ban in place until Dec. 11 while his administration drafts additional regulations.

The new law responds to growing concern about the health effects of vaping products.

It immediately bans the sale of flavored vaping products and will outlaw sales of menthol cigarettes starting June 1, 2020.

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