Statement from Laurent Huber, Executive Director,
Action on Smoking and Health
Brookline, MA Becomes 1st City in the U.S. to Ban Tobacco Sales to Anyone Born in the 21st Century
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 19, 2021 – This morning Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey approved Brookline’s first-in-the-nation Tobacco Free Generation law, which prohibits the sale of all tobacco products to anyone born after January 1, 2000 with the aim of protecting future generations from the devastating harm caused tobacco. Action on Smoking and Health applauds the people of Brookline for taking this historic step on the path to seeing the end of the tobacco epidemic and upholding the human rights of their fellow citizens above the interests of the tobacco industry.
Brookline, a small city outside of Boston, has been an early adopter of other key anti-tobacco laws in the past, including comprehensive smoke-free air and raising the minimum age of purchase. We at ASH hope that this latest move motivates other cities in Massachusetts and beyond to follow their lead.
The Tobacco Free Generation (TFG) concept, which in effect is a sales ban with a grandfather clause for existing people of legal age who smoke, offers an excellent way forward in places where a comprehensive sales ban – such as those implemented earlier this year in Beverly Hills and Manhattan Beach, CA – is undesirable or politically infeasible. In addition to preventing a new generation from being addicted to nicotine – and facing the long-term health issues that come with it – Brookline citizens who smoke will be further motivated to quit as smoking becomes rarer around them.
Going forward, we urge Brookline to offer comprehensive cessation support to people who want to quit smoking. They are not the perpetrators of the tobacco epidemic, but rather the victims of a cynical industry that intentionally addicted them as children.
ASH remains committed to ending the tobacco epidemic and not merely mitigating it. Tobacco industry products kill over eight million people a year and killed more Americans in 2020 than did COVID-19. The production and marketing of tobacco products is a violation of the human right to health, and governments have a duty to stop the tobacco industry.
Action on Smoking & Health (ASH)
Founded in 1967, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is America’s oldest anti-tobacco organization, dedicated to a world with ZERO tobacco deaths. Because tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, ASH supports bold solutions proportionate to the magnitude of the problem. https://ash.org.