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First state bans flavours and menthols

26 Nov 2019. Massachusetts has become the first US state to outlaw the general sale of flavoured tobacco and nicotine vaping products after GOP Gov. Charlie Baker signed a set of sweeping tobacco controls into law, reports CNN.

The law comes after the US was hit by a large number of vaping-related lung illnesses and deaths and was put in place in order to reduce the appeal of certain products to young people. The legislation bans the sale of any flavoured tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, with an exception being made only for products sold for on-site consumption in special smoking bars, according to CNN.

"The bill we signed today goes a long way towards restricting access to the most addictive kinds of nicotine and vaping products," Baker said. "The bill will keep kids and teenagers from getting their hands on vaping products, especially flavored products that encourage young people to start using."

The law, which will take effect on 1 June 2020, also puts a 75 per cent excise tax on non-flavoured e-cigarettes sold in the state, and restricts the amount of nicotine allowed in non-flavored products sold anywhere except for in specialty shops.

Baker also appeared to take a swipe at federal regulators and the Trump administration, which has remained unclear on its decision to regulate e-cigarette restrictions since first addressing the issue in September. "Unfortunately, it's becoming increasingly clear that the federal government is not going to act decisively, so we're going to do everything that we can with state-level authority," Baker said.