Massachusetts law about smoking

Laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on the use of tobacco products, including smoking and vaping.

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Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.64C Cigarette excise: regulates pricing, taxation and other aspects of cigarette and e-cigarette sales

MGL c.71, § 2A Use of tobacco products at schools

MGL c.74, § 58 Use of tobacco products at vocational schools

MGL c.111, § 31 Boards of health may make reasonable health regulations (including smoking regulations)

MGL c.111, § 72X All nursing homes must have non-smoking areas; employees can't smoke in patient care areas

MGL c.112, § 61A No health care institution can sell tobacco products

MGL c.148, § 60 Prohibits the use of novelty lighters

21  Age to buy cigarettes or e-cigarettes

MGL c.270, § 6 Tobacco: sale or gift to minors. Must be 21 to buy any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, but there is an exemption for anyone who turned 18 before December 31, 2018

MGL c.270, § 6A Fines for selling rolling papers to people under 21

MGL c.270, § 22 Smoking in the workplace and in public places

MGL c. 270, § 23 No smoking in flea markets

MGL c.270, § 27 Liquid nicotine containers and liquid or gel substances containing nicotine must be in child resistant packaging

MGL c.270, § 28 Flavored tobacco is prohibited, effective June 1, 2020

MGL c.270, § 29 Nicotine content of vaping products and e-cigarettes is limited, effective June 1, 2020

MGL c.272, § 43A No smoking on public transportation or in stations

Massachusetts regulations

105 CMR 661 Regulations implementing MGL c.270 § 22. Provides detailed requirements for allowing smoking in membership associations and outdoor spaces.

105 CMR 665 Minimum standards for retail sale of tobacco and electronic nicotine delivery systems, including flavored tobacco

501 CMR 14 Fire-safe cigarettes

830 CMR 270.1.1 Smoking bar permits

940 CMR 21 Sales and distribution of cigarettes and other smoking devices in Massachusetts 

940 CMR 22 Sales and distribution of cigars in Massachusetts 

Federal laws

15 USC § 1335 Television and radio advertising

21 USC § 387f(d) (as amended by HB 1865, §§603-604) Must be 21 to buy tobacco products

FDA and the Tobacco Control Act
Regulating the manufacture, marketing, sale and distribution of tobacco products. Links to the law, regulations and guidance.

Federal regulations

24 CFR §§ 965.651-965.653 Smoke-free public housing

Selected cases

American Lithuanian Naturalization Club Athol Mass. v. Board of Health of Athol, 446 Mass. 310 (2006)
A town can prohibit smoking in private clubs.

Donovan v. Philip Morris, 455 Mass. 215 (2009)
Plaintiffs had a claim for "medical monitoring," based on their exposure to cigarette smoke.

Greene v. Philip Morris, 491 Mass. 866 (2023)
"... the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's finding of liability on the claim of civil conspiracy under a theory of concerted action, where the conspiracy of which the defendant was a significant part undertook a unified, pervasive campaign to hide the true health risks of smoking from prospective and actual smokers; and where the plaintiff relied to her detriment on the conspiracy's misrepresentations regarding filtered cigarettes."

Haglund v. Philip Morris, 446 Mass. 741 (2006)
In a claim for breach of warranty of merchantability against cigarette manufacturer, the court stated that, "Because no cigarette can be safely used for its ordinary purpose, smoking, there can be no non-unreasonable use of cigarettes." However, the defendant manufacturer is not precluded from asserting an affirmative defense of unreasonable use of their product as a matter of law.

Six Brother, Inc. v. Town of Brookline, 493 Mass. 616 (2024)
SJC upholds Brookline town bylaw that phases out the sale of tobacco by prohibiting sales to people born in this century. The Massachusetts Tobacco Act, MGL c. 270, § 6 (b), which sets the minimum age for the purchase of tobacco products at 21 years old, does not preempt a more stringent town bylaw.

Web sources

Smoking or Vaping in General

Smoking in Apartments or Condominiums

  • Westland Housing Corp. v. Scott, 312 Mass. 375 (1942)
    Court ruled that there was a constructive eviction where an "injurious condition of smoke, soot, oil and fumes rising from a newly installed oil burner in the basement into a leased first floor apartment, caus[ed] the tenant thereof to vacate within a reasonable time".
  • Harwood Capital Corp. v. Carey, Boston Housing Court 05-SP-00187 (June 3, 2005)
    In what may have been the first verdict of its kind, a jury ruled for a landlord seeking to evict tenants for smoking, even though smoking was permitted in the building. Neighboring tenants had complained to the landlord about the smoke seeping into their units. Because this was a jury verdict, there is no published opinion, but we've gathered the available pre- and post-verdict materials here.
  • Instituting smoke-free public housing, Federal Register, 2016.
    Effective February 3, 2017. "No later than 18 months from the effective date of the rule, each PHA must implement a “smoke-free” policy banning the use of prohibited tobacco products in all public housing living units, indoor common areas in public housing, and in PHA administrative office buildings."
  • Legal options for condominium owners exposed to secondhand smoke, by Susan Schoenmarklin, Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, December 2006.
    "Legal options available to a condominium owner exposed to drifting secondhand smoke from a neighboring condominium unit."
  • Secondhand smoke seepage into multi-unit affordable housing, by Susan Schoenmarklin, Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, April 2010.
    Discusses the legality of prohibiting "smoking in public housing and HUD-assisted residential units," and "outlines the procedure that public housing authorities and HUD-assisted owners must follow to enact smoke-free policies legally and provides recommendations on how to enforce such policies."
  • Toolkits for owners/management agents and residents, HUD.
    These Smoke-Free Housing Toolkits  provide educational, "how-to" and resource brochures, pamphlets and other information designed to assist owners/management agents and residents of public and assisted multi-family housing who want safer and healthier homes.

Smoking in the Workplace

Employer Regulation of Smoking away from Work

  • Rodrigues v. EG Systems d/b/a/ Scotts Lawn Services, 639 F.Supp.2d 131 (2009)
    Scott Rodrigues was fired by Scotts Lawn Care for smoking away from the workplace, and brought suit against the company under privacy and ERISA laws. The court held that "Rodrigues does not have a protected privacy interest in the fact that he is a smoker because he has never attempted to keep that fact private," and "A person such as Rodrigues, who has only a contingent offer of employment, does not have an expectation of benefits under the potential employer’s ERISA plan that Section 510 protects." Rodrigues was working on condition of a successful drug screen, including for nicotine.
  • Smokers need not apply,, December 19, 2010.
    "Under a new policy believed to be the first of its kind for a hospital in Massachusetts, Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport last month began testing prospective employees for nicotine use. Those who fail the screening can forget about a job." The article highlights this and other employers prohibiting smoking away from the workplace. Note: You must be online in Massachusetts in order to access this link.

Print sources

Drafting employment documents in Massachusetts, 4th ed., MCLE, looseleaf. Chapter 11: Privacy in the workplace.

Employment law, 3rd ed. (Mass. Practice v.45), Thomson Reuters, 2016 with supplement, Section 10:7 Inquiry into private facts.

Labor and employment law in Massachusetts, 2nd ed., Lexis, loose-leaf. Chapter 3, Section 3-8[b] and 3-11. 

Landlord and tenant law, 3rd ed. (Mass. Practice v.33), West Group, 2000 with supplement. Sections 11:4 – 11:9 and Section 16:33: Covenant of quiet enjoyment.

Puffing away parental rights: a survey and analysis of whether secondhand smoke exposure is child abuse,” 32 Journal of Law & Health 89 (2019).

What to do about personnel problems in Massachusetts, BLR, loose-leaf. See Smoking-National and Smoking-Massachusetts. 

Contact   for Massachusetts law about smoking

Last updated: April 1, 2024

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