SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any general or special law or rule or regulation to the contrary, the Department of Public Health is hereby directed and authorized to conduct a comprehensive study evaluating and making recommendations regarding the use of harm reduction as a strategy for reducing cigarette smoking in the Commonwealth and thereby reducing death, disease and health care costs associated with the use of cigarettes. Said study may include, but not be limited to, strategies to reduce the harm associated with smoking for individuals who will not otherwise abstain, reduce the harm associated with a number of risk behaviors and recognize any potential benefits in encouraging cigarette smokers who will not cease smoking altogether to switch to tobacco products that pose less serious health risks. The study shall recognize the growing data from scientific studies showing that the health risks associated with smokeless tobacco products are significantly lower than the risks associated with cigarettes.
The Department of Public Health shall submit a written report, including recommendations and drafts of any legislation, to the clerks of the Senate and House of Representatives and the Joint Committee on Public Health within six months of the effective date of this act.
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