Shaun Zinck Mar. 18, 2015, 7:02pm


Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said Tuesday she is proposing legislation that would prevent children from purchasing electronic cigarettes.

Healey said e-cigarettes, if left unregulated, pose a health risk to Massachusetts residents.

“Over the last two decades, we have made tremendous strides in reducing youth smoking, but we’re fighting the war against youth smoking on a new front today,” Healey said. “These regulations make clear that in Massachusetts an e-cigarette is a cigarette when it comes to protecting our kids.”

The proposal would prohibit selling e-cigarettes to minors; prohibit samples, promotional giveaways and other free distributions; and prohibit sales of e-cigarettes in vending machines that are in establishments open to those under 18 years old. The proposal also includes provisions that e-cigarettes would need to be out of the reach of customers and only accessible to store employees, and businesses would need to take steps to prevent selling to minors.

State Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, state Sen. Harriette Chandler and Tobacco Free Massachusetts Executive Director Tami Gouveia joined Healey in announcing the proposed legislation.

Sanchez applauded Healey for the “much-needed first step” in limiting e-cigarettes while research is still ongoing to determine the safety of the products.

“At the same time, we need to be forward thinking and consider how we plan to regulate all future tobacco products,” Sanchez said.

Chandler said more teenagers now pick up e-cigarettes than traditional cigarettes.

“It is important for the commonwealth to recognize that e-cigarettes are a public health threat and respond to their unregulated sale to keep our minors tobacco free,” Chandler said.

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