Monday, November 23, 2015

Boston, MA - Local Alert! Board of Health needs to hear from you about flavor regulation and Tobacco 21

Boston, MA

The Boston Public Health Commission will be accepting public comments on a proposed change to the city’s tobacco regulations. These changes include:
  • Banning the sale of flavored tobacco and vapor products by retailers that are not licensed as a “retail tobacco store” or a “smoking bar.” (Specialty vapor shops are already considered to be “retail tobacco stores”)
  • Banning the sale of ALL tobacco products including e-cigarettes in “health care institutions” (pharmacies, drug stores, etc.).
  • Raising the age to purchase tobacco and vapor products to 21

Please take action NOW by sending an email to:
boardofhealth@bphc.org

We have provided talking points below for both of these issues.

Please also make plans to attend the public hearing scheduled for:

December 3rd, 2015
5:00PM - 7:00PM
Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Avenue
Hayes Conference Room, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02118


Suggested Talking Points - Flavor Regulation

1) Suggesting that flavored vapor products exist for the sole purpose of attracting youth is patently false and dangerous. Enacting regulation that makes these low-risk, smoke-free products less attractive and less effective for adults will only protect sales of traditional cigarettes and encourage people to continue smoking. Moreover, there is little assurance that this policy will not be extended to include specialty vapor retailers in the future.

2) Please briefly share your story about switching to vapor products. Be sure to mention the role, if any, that the variety of flavored vapor products played in your transition. It would also be helpful to mention your first exposure to e-cigarettes; did you purchase a product from a convenience store or gas station or did you instinctively know to go to a specialty vapor store?

3) Adult exposure to the variety of vapor products in the places they normally buy cigarettes is important because it is often the first time they will see this alternative to smoking. Only a small number of smokers will actually seek out specialty vapor shops to purchase their first e-cigarette. Limiting sales of flavored e-cigarettes to specialty shops would effectively reduce the number of people attempting to quit smoking.

4) We know from recent surveys that adults prefer flavors other than traditional tobacco and menthol (http://vaping.com/data/big-survey-2014-initial-findings-eliquid), (http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/12/7272)

5) Flavors are an important aspect of vapor products as they help former smokers disassociate nicotine consumption from inhaling smoke.

6) Prohibiting flavor options creates a barrier to becoming smoke free and, as a result, many adult residents will actually be encouraged to continue smoking instead of making the switch to a product that is estimated to be 99% less hazardous than smoking.

Suggested Talking Points - Tobacco 21

1) Raising the purchase age for tobacco products to 21 is supposedly about discouraging youth initiation. However, enacting such policies without separating low-risk, smoke-free products from traditional cigarettes severely limits options for current adult smokers between the ages of 18 and 21 to find a pathway to quitting smoking.

2) Including low-risk products like e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in these types of laws sends a confusing and inaccurate message to adult smokers that smoke-free products are just as harmful as smoking.

3) If young members of the U.S. military can fight for our country, they should be permitted to purchase smoke-free nicotine products.

4) We allow 18 to 20 year olds the option to get married, have children, buy a house, etc. What are we going to raise age limits on next?

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