2013-2014 Legislative Victories – We Couldn’t Have Done It Without YOU!
With the generous support of our members and donors, Tobacco Free Mass mobilized hundreds of tobacco advocates throughout the state in support of effective policies to reduce youth access to tobacco and to help smokers who want to quit. These efforts have saved thousands of lives in the state already! Through our action alert system, social media presence, and two radio ads we mobilized in support of increased tobacco taxes.
Tobacco Free Mass’ advocacy efforts resulted in a $1.00 per cigarette pack excise tax increase and an increase to 210% of wholesale on Other Tobacco Products (pictured below). This increase will save an estimated 50,000 lives. The price increase will prevent 27,000 youth from starting to smoke and will be an economic incentive for nearly 25,000 current adult smokers to quit.¹ Fewer smokers mean $26.1 million in healthcare cost savings for Massachusetts within five years.²
Other Tobacco Products (OTPs)Advocacy calls and emails to lawmakers resulted in a tax increase on other tobacco products (OTPs). OTP use among Massachusetts high school students has increased more than 30% over the past 5 years and surpasses cigarette use.³ The picture to the left shows how OTPs closely resemble popular candy.
In 2012 Tobacco Free Mass led the effort to expand the MassHealth smoking cessation benefit to the state’s subsidized Commonwealth Care Health Insurance Program. MassHealth smoking cessation benefit pilot was signed into law in 2008 and included access to free or low-cost pharmacotherapy, nicotine replacement products, and counseling. Data shows that for every $1 spent on the benefit Massachusetts saves $3 in hospitalizations and acute cardiovascular conditions.5
This cigar sells for less than $.70 in most convenience stores across the state. Massachusetts will collect $1 billion in tobacco taxes and payments from the Master Settlement Agreement in Fiscal Year 2014. Yet less than 0.4% is budgeted for youth tobacco prevention and cessation programming. Tobacco Free Mass will continue to fight for prevention and cessation funding so that we can continue to save lives and reduce costs.
Recent trends point to a steady increase in cigar use among youth and indicate that Massachusetts high school students are smoking cigars more than they are smoking cigarettes.4 Many of the cigars sell for less than the cost of a candy bar in convenience stores across the state. Tobacco Free Mass will continue to advocate for minimum packaging laws to increase the retail price of candy-flavored, single cigars to reduce youth access.
2013: $1.00/pack cigarette tax increase. Increase on other tobacco products from 90% to 210% of wholesale and increase on cigars from 30% to 40% of wholesale.
2012: MassHealth smoking cessation benefit extended to state subsidized Commonwealth Care Health Insurance Program
2011: Massachusetts casino law assured all gaming facilities will be 100% smoke-free.
2008: $1.00/pack cigarette tax increase. Dedicated revenue for Health Reform.
2008: $1.00/pack cigarette tax increase.
2008: Little cigars re-classified as cigarettes
2008: Preserved the minimum pricing law
2008: MassHealth smoking cessation benefit made permanent in Governor's FY 2009 budget proposal
2006: Pilot program signed into law that allows MassHealth subscribers access to free or low-cost pharmacotherapy, nicotine replacement products, and counseling
2005: MassHealth coverage of smoking cessation for pregnant women and mothers with children under age three
2004: Enactment of a law making Massachusetts workplaces 100% smoke-free
2003: Assisted multiple cities and towns to pass and sustain smoke-free workplace regulations, including the cities of Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville
2002: $.75 cigarette tax increase
1999: The Massachusetts Attorney General? 1999 Cigarette, Smokeless Tobacco, Cigar and Little Cigar Regulations that declare certain types of conduct by manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of tobacco products to be unfair or deceptive acts or practices prohibited under state law
1999: A law committing all of Massachusetts tobacco settlement revenues to public health and tobacco control programs, with over $22.8 million from tobacco settlement revenues going to tobacco control programs in Fiscal Year 2000
1998: The defeat of a Massachusetts Restaurant Association-backed bill that would have set a low threshold for restaurant smoking regulations and prevented local authorities from passing tougher regulations
1997: A law making Massachusetts the first state in the nation to divest all state pension fund holdings in tobacco stocks
1997: A law requiring the Massachusetts State House to be completely smoke-free
1996: The Tolman Disclosure Law, which requires cigarette companies to report their products ingredients and true nicotine yield ratings to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health
1992: Passage of the Question One ballot initiative that placed a $.25 per pack tax on cigarettes and dedicated a portion of the revenue to the creation of the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program1 New Revenues, Public Health Benefits & Cost Savings from $1.00, $1.25, and $1.50 Cigarette Tax Increases in Massachusetts. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. 2013. 2 New Revenues, Public Health Benefits & Cost Savings from $1.00, $1.25, and $1.50 Cigarette Tax Increases in Massachusetts. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. 2013. 3 Youth Tobacco Use in Massachusetts: Survey Results from 1993 to 2011. Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 2013. 4 Youth Tobacco Use in Massachusetts: Survey Results from 1993 to 2011. Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 2013. 5 ROI for the MassHealth smoking cessation benefit. Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 2012.