Massachusetts law about smoking

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on the use of tobacco products, including smoking and vaping, in Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

News

Vaping public health emergency, Dept. of Public Health, September 24, 2019.
The sale of all vaping products is banned in Massachusetts through January 25, 2020.

The sale or display of all vaping products to consumers ... is prohibited in the Commonwealth.

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.64C Cigarette excise. Regulates pricing, taxation and other aspects of 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, § 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 public places

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

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.

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

Local regulations

Local policies restricting flavored "other tobacco products" to adult-only retailers, Mass. Municipal Association.
List of Massachusetts towns that limit sales of flavored vaping products.

Regulation of the Norwood Board of Health restricting the sale of tobacco products and smoke accessories.
Imposes many limits on the sale of tobacco. For example, no one can sell flavored tobacco products in Norwood, including adult-only stores, effective September 15, 2019.

Selected case law

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.

Haglund v. Philip Morris, 446 Mass. 741 (2006)
"Because no cigarette can be safely used for its ordinary purpose, smoking, there can be no non-unreasonable use of cigarettes."

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, causing 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.
  • Legal options for condominium owners exposed to secondhand smoke, 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."
  • Smokers Need Not Apply, Boston.com, 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." Highlights this and other employers prohibiting smoking away from the workplace.

Print sources

Labor and Employment Law in Massachusetts, Lexis, loose-leaf. Chapter 3, Section 3-8[b] and 3-11. 

What to Do About Personnel Problems in Massachusetts, BLR, loose-leaf. See Smoking-National and Smoking-Massachusetts. 

Contact

Phone

Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only

Online

Reference librarians online Chat with a law librarian 
Reference librarians via email masslawlib@gmail.com

Address

Administrative office (no law library at this location)
2 Center Plaza
9th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Last updated: September 26, 2019
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