Flavored Tobacco Targeted in Bid to Stem Youth Vaping

BOSTON (AP) — Anti-smoking advocates are pushing to make Massachusetts the first state to outlaw the retail sale of flavored tobacco products like those popular with electronic cigarette users.

The bill’s supporters recently told the Legislature’s public health committee the flavored pods have been aggressively marketed to minors, helping to fuel a surge of adolescent vaping.

Democratic Rep. Danielle Gregoire says imposing a higher legal age for tobacco as the Legislature did last year has done little to stem the tide.

While e-cigarettes are generally viewed as less harmful than regular cigarettes, health experts say nicotine still poses a risk for developing brains.

An organization representing convenience stores and gas stations contends retailers are being made scapegoats for the youth vaping epidemic and says Massachusetts should focus on stronger enforcement of internet sales.

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