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Fact Sheet Fact Sheet

Tobacco use in Massachusetts 2018

Massachusetts cigarette use among adults and high school students

Cigarette use: Massachusetts*

  • In 2016, 13.6 percent of adults smoked. Nationally, the rate was 17.1 percent.¹
  • In 2017, 6.4 percent of high school students smoked on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 8.8 percent.²

Other tobacco product use: Massachusetts

  • In 2015, 1.6 percent of adults used e-cigarettes and 1.8 percent smoked cigars.³
  • In 2017, 20.1 percent of high school students used e-cigarettes, 4.8 percent use smokeless tobacco and 6.7 percent smoked cigars on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rates were 13.2 percent, 5.5 percent and 8.0 percent, respectively.²
Massachusetts other tobacco product use among adults and high school students

Economics of tobacco use and tobacco control

  • Massachusetts received $884 million (estimated) in tobacco settlement payments and taxes in fiscal year 2018.
  • Of this, the state allocated $3.7 million in state funds to tobacco prevention in fiscal year 2018, just 5.6 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual spending target.
  • Smoking-caused health care costs: $4.08 billion per year
  • Smoking-caused losses in productivity: $2.40 billion per year

Massachusetts tobacco laws

Tobacco taxes

Massachusetts 2018 tobacco taxes
  • Massachusetts is ranked 4th in the U.S. for its cigarette tax of $3.51 per pack (enacted July 2013), compared to the national average of $1.73. (Connecticut and New York have the highest tax at $4.35 and Missouri has the lowest at 17 cents.)⁶ ⁷ ⁸
  • Little cigars are taxed at $3.51 per 20 cigars. Smokeless tobacco is taxed at 210 percent of the wholesale price. Cigars and smoking tobacco are taxed at 40 percent of the wholesale price.⁶ ⁷

Clean indoor air ordinances

  • Smoking is prohibited in all government workplaces, private workplaces, schools, childcare facilities, restaurants, bars (allowed in smoking bars), retail stores and recreational/cultural facilities.

Youth access laws

  • The minimum age of sale for tobacco products in Massachusetts is 18.
  • Establishments are required to post signs stating that sales to minors are prohibited.
  • Self-service tobacco product displays are prohibited except in adult-only retail stores.

Local tobacco laws

  • 178 cities and towns in Massachusetts, including Boston, have banned the sale of tobacco products to those under age 21.
  • 106 cities and local municipalities in Massachusetts, including Boston, have restricted flavored tobacco to adult-only retail tobacco stores and smoking bars. These laws exempt menthol and mint flavors.¹⁰
  • 156 cities and towns in Massachusetts, including Boston, require cigars to be sold for at least $2.50 and multi-packs of two or more cigars for at least $5.00.¹⁰
  • 104 cities and towns in Massachusetts have caps on the number of available tobacco licenses.¹⁰
  • 163 cities and local municipalities in Massachusetts, including Boston, have adopted laws banning pharmacies from selling tobacco products.¹⁰
  • The use of smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products at baseball parks, including Fenway Park, and other professional and amateur sports venues, is prohibited.¹¹

Quitting statistics and benefits

  • The CDC estimates that 53.9 percent of daily adult smokers in Massachusetts quit smoking for one or more days in 2016.¹²
  • In 2014, the Affordable Care Act required that Medicaid programs cover all quit medications.**
  • Massachusetts’ state quit line invests $1.14 per smoker, compared to the national average of $2.10.
  • Massachusetts does not have a private insurance mandate provision for quitting tobacco.

Notes and references

Updated June 2018

* National and state-level prevalence numbers reflect the most recent data available. This may differ across state fact sheets.

** The seven recommended cessation medications are NRT gum, NRT patch, NRT nasal spray, NRT inhaler, NRT lozenge, Varenicline (Chantix) and Bupropion (Zyban). Fiore MC, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service: May 2008.

  1. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2016.
  2. CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2017.
  3. CDC, State-Specific Prevalence of Tobacco Product Use Among Adults - United States, 2014-2015, MMWR.
  4. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Broken Promises to Our Children: a State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 19 Years Later FY2018, 2017.
  5. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Toll of Tobacco in the United States, 2018.
  6. American Lung Association, SLATI State Reports, 2017.
  7. American Lung Association, State of Tobacco Control, 2018.
  8. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, State Cigarette Excise Tax Rates & Rankings, 2018.
  9. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. States and Localities that have Raised the Minimum Legal Sales Age for Tobacco Products to 21. 2018;
  10. Massachusetts Association of Health Boards. Tobacco Maps of Massachusetts. 2017;
  11. Knock Tobacco Out of the Park.
  12. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System, 2016.