Try This Cycling Recovery Routine After Your Next Long Ride

Every keen cyclist knows that they should commit some time to recovery work after a long ride, but it’s fair to say that most skimp in this area. It’s understandable – after a few hours in the saddle, taking another 15-30 minutes to stretch and foam roll your aching muscles feels like a big commitment when you could be lounging on the sofa instead.

However, your muscles really won’t thank you for skipping recovery work and you’re liable to feel twice as tight the next day, as well as putting yourself at greater risk of injury over the course of a tough training regime. We spoke to Phil Burt, former head physiotherapist at British Cycling, about the importance of stretching and other recovery work, and asked him for a simple routine to do after your long rides.

Why is it important to stretch after a ride?

“You’ve got tight muscles, and as you try and move them towards their full length you either meet resistance or pain. That’s why we stretch – so we have more muscle length available to us that’s restriction-free. That’s especially true after a long ride, because it’s a forced postural position set by the parameters of your bike set-up.”

How long should you spend on your recovery work?

“Everybody is time-poor – even athletes. I remember Bradley Wiggins coming up to me once in 2007 or so. He’d been assessed by a California outfit and they gave him 26 different exercise and stretches to do each day. He said, ‘I did these yesterday and I didn’t have any time to ride my bike.’ Every one of those stretches was valid, but what I preach is golden bullet exercises, where you’re stretching different things at the same time.

“Do the exercises [recommended below] three to five times, for 30 to 60 seconds. If you get to 60 seconds you know you’re getting a good stretch, but you might find that too hard to do at first, so do it for 30 seconds and build up to a minute, knowing you’re doing it well.”

When should you stretch?

“I don’t think anyone needs to do it before a ride – unless they have specific reasons to, like an injury or restriction – but after the ride it’s very important. Nutrition is key in the first hour, so sort that, shower and clean yourself up, then ideally do the stretches straight after you’ve showered, when you’re still warm. Do it then and again later on that evening if you want to.”

Post-Ride Recovery Routine

You’ll need a trigger point massage ball and a foam roller for this routine, which Burt has designed to target all of the areas of the body most likely to be stiff after a long cycle.

Rectus femoris, hip flexors and lower back

“The rectus femoris is the middle quad muscle and it’s really important in cycling. If that gets tight then it glues down your hip and your kneecap, and it can be the muscle responsible for kneecap pain when cycling. You don’t use the hip flexors in cycling unless it’s an all-out sprint, but they are important because they connect to your lumbar spine. So when you stand up they pull your back into an extended and maybe painful position.

“You can stretch your rectus femoris and hip flexors with a modified Bulgarian stretch. Stand on one leg with the other behind you on a chair. Squeeze your glutes as tight as you can and push through your hips, and then squat down on the standing leg.

“For people who have very poor flexibility through the pelvis and lower back, the modified Bulgarian means your pelvis can move where it wants to and it decreases the load on your lumbar spine. If I asked you to touch the floor now and I blocked your pelvis you’d have to do it all through your lumbar spine, so you’d feel more of stretch there and maybe some pain. It’s the same on a bike – you want your hips, pelvis and lower back sharing the workload.”


“Glute stretches are great but I suggest using a trigger-point ball on your glutes. Get the ball up against a wall and lean right into it around your glutes. It’s really easy to get a good release on your glutes. You’ll feel great afterwards!”

Iliotibial band (ITB)

“Cyclists’ ITBs can get very tight because of the forces the knee has to deal with from pedalling, and this can be a major cause of knee pain. Foam roll the ITB [which runs down the outside of the thigh], because it’s very hard to stretch. All I can say to you is that whatever the foam roller actually does, and there is controversy about the mechanism, it works! It’s eye-wateringly painful, but if you do it every day for two weeks, three minutes each side, it stops hurting. Vibrating foam rollers are really good for this, because they make it less painful.”

Thoracic spine

“When cycling, the thoracic spine [the upper part of the spine] is in a similar position to when you’re looking at the ceiling when you’re painting it. Foam rolling the thoracic spine will pay big dividends in your neck and decrease the workload for your lumbar spine. Often people don’t feel like the thoracic spine is painful, but foam rolling that area can help with problems in your neck and lower back.”


“Problems arise here because you’re holding the handlebars for ages. The lats come all the way from your neck down to the bottom of your spine. They’re a big stabilising muscle. Put a trigger-point ball against your armpit to roll them, either lying on your side or against a wall. This can really help your thoracic spine to move, and therefore your lumbar spine and neck. Again it’s a muscle that itself isn’t painful but if restricted will cause aches, pains and restrictions elsewhere.”

Phil Burt, former head physiotherapist at British Cycling, has launched Phil Burt Innovation, offering a range of services including cycling-specific injury assessment, treatment and bike fitting. For more information visit

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This Healthy Chicken Recipe Is Set To Be The Star Of Your Summer

You know what’s really underrated? Marinating food, and marinating chicken especially. It takes only slightly more planning than usual and little extra work, but the payback for your tastebuds is massive. After your chicken’s spent a day sitting in fridge absorbing the myriad flavours of your marinade, it’s basically impossible to cook it in a way that isn’t delicious. Also when you whip out your marinated chicken at a dinner party in a manner reminiscent of a perfectly prepared Blue Peter presenter (try and say that five times quickly), people are going to be absolutely wowed.

Convinced? Of course you are, so plan on making this recipe from Fresh Fitness Food, a food delivery service that sends you pre-made meals and snacks designed to help you hit your fitness goals – whether that’s lose weight, become leaner, bulk up, or anything else.

The zingy, zesty marinade in this recipe adds oodles of flavour to the chicken, which you can barbecue or cook in the oven depending on how the British summer turns out. Once you’ve made the chicken we recommend pairing it with some fresh vegetables and brown rice or, even better, using it in this Mexican jumble recipe in place of the poached and shredded chicken.


For the marinade:

  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup coriander leaves
  • 1tsp lime zest
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¾tsp oregano
  • 1tsp cumin powder
  • 1½tbsp fresh mint leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1tsp salt
  • ½tsp black pepper


  1. Place the ingredients for the marinade in a food processor. Whizz until the coriander is finely chopped.
  2. In a large bowl, pour the marinade over the chicken breasts. Cover with cling film and leave for 12 to 36 hours in the fridge.
  3. Chargrill the chicken breasts on a barbecue or griddle pan to add colour, then place in the oven at 200°C/gas 6 to cook through, which will take approximately ten minutes.
  4. Once the chicken breasts are cooked the whole way through (or reach 75°C, if you have a meat thermometer), take them out and leave them to rest for a few minutes. Slice and serve.

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Blueberries can reduce fat and improve gut health: study

A recent study has found that adding blueberries to your diet could improve gut health and prevent obesity by reversing the effects of a high-fat diet on the body.

When the body is subject to a high-fat diet, it undergoes a series of drastic changes, especially in the gut. High-fat levels reduce proteins that protect the gut, causing inflammation. This inflammation can also decrease the body’s ability to respond to insulin, causing people to develop type 2 diabetes.

Researchers were interested in reversing those effects and looked to the humble blueberry. This superfruit was of particular interest because it possesses anti-inflammatory properties as well as the ability to alter gut microbiome.

In the study, which was recently published in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers fed rats a low fat, high fat or high fat with blueberry powder diet. They were looking to see if the blueberries reduced the harmful effects of a high-fat diet.

They found that the addition of blueberry changed the rats gut for the better, restoring protein levels and reducing inflammation. They also found that those rats had an increase in intestinal villi height, which are vital in nutrient absorption. These rats were also found to have less insulin in the blood and needed less insulin to break down food, which indicates that blueberries also help to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Although there are significant differences between humans and rats, this is promising evidence that suggests blueberries may be the key to improving gut health and reducing the effects of obesity on the body.

While we’re on the topic, check out the gut-balancing advice this nutritionist swears by and is it okay to eat an entire punnet of blueberries a day?

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How to Stick to a Diet

Losing motivation is completely normal whenever you start a new diet and exercise routine. So here’s my advice on the matter: Don’t think of these changes as a “new diet” or a “new exercise routine.” Instead, think of your diet and exercise changes as adapting a healthy lifestyle that will eventually lead to a happier (and hotter) you!

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Expert advice from our partner ChickRx.

Q: Whenever I start a new diet, I’m motivated for a week and then lose inspiration. Do you have any advice for staying motivated to continue a new diet or exercise routine?

Losing motivation is completely normal whenever you start a new diet and exercise routine. So here’s my advice on the matter: Don’t think of these changes as a “new diet” or a “new exercise routine.”

Instead, think of your diet and exercise changes as adapting a healthy lifestyle that will eventually lead to a happier (and hotter) you! These changes in diet and exercise can’t be thought of as temporary, because if that’s the case, then your old habits will inevitably return along with the feelings (and pounds) that accompany them.

I recommend adapting healthy lifestyle habits one (maybe two) at a time. If you change too much at once, you’re setting yourself up for failure because it’s difficult to stick to it when you make a lot of drastic changes all at once.

Read more at ChickRx:

Here’s an example: During the first two weeks of your new and improved healthy life, you might commit to going to the gym three days a week and giving up soda. Maybe during week three you up the ante and commit to going to the gym four times a week, plus you eat breakfast every morning and a smaller dinner. Making changes one at a time is much more manageable and not nearly as overwhelming.

I generally don’t recommend counting calories, because I think it can get exhausting and somewhat discouraging when you consider food only as a source of calories rather than enjoying nutritious food and the benefits it can have on your health.

I do, however, think it’s important to be able to identify ways to decrease calories in your daily diet if you’re trying to lose weight. For example, when choosing a salad dressing, it’s generally a good rule of thumb to reach for a vinaigrette-based dressing (even better is a light version) rather than a cream-based dressing. Or, rather than drinking your morning glass of orange juice, reach for an orange instead.

As far as tracking your weight goes, the decision to weigh or not to weigh is a personal one. In the beginning especially, it can be encouraging to track your progress by stepping on the scale once a week (and always at the same time of the day). Weekly weigh-ins can also be helpful during the weight maintenance phase because it can help individuals identify a 1 to 2 pound weight gain before it becomes 4 to 5 pounds. On the other hand, some people prefer to track their weight according to the way their clothes fit. I’d say you should stick with whatever works for you!

Expert answer by: Andrea Garman, a registered, licensed dietitian at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, in Chicago. Read more answers to this question, or ask your own.

This article originally appeared on ChickRx

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1 suspected death in new Ebola outbreak, officials say

One person is suspected to have died in a fresh outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo, officials said today.

Thus far, 11 suspected cases of haemorrhagic fever have been recorded, including two laboratory-confirmed Ebola cases, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s health ministry said in a statement. There are several types of haemorrhagic fever besides Ebola, meaning not all suspected cases are that specific virus.

Three health professionals are among those suspected to be infected, officials said.

Medical teams from the government, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Doctors Without Borders, a frontline medical charity, traveled Tuesday to the area of the latest outbreak to investigate and assist with containment.

This is the ninth cycle of Ebola recorded in the DRC. The disease was discovered in 1976 and named after the eponymous Ebola River that cuts across the north of the country.

The disease is believed to be spread by bats, who can incubate the virus without being affected by it. The bats can then infect other animals living in the same trees, such as monkeys.

The aggressive Ebola epidemic, which triggered international alerts between 2013 and 2016, was the most widespread outbreak of the virus, killing more than 11,300 people and infecting nearly 30,000 others. The virus spread across the West African coast through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Small outbreaks caused by passenger travel out of the contaminated areas, including a humanitarian worker being evacuated back home, were recorded in the U.S., U.K., Sardinia and Senegal.

ABC News’ Julia Macfarlane contributed to this report.

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E. coli-tainted romaine outbreak spreads to 29 states, sickens 149 people – The Denver Post

The nationwide food poisoning outbreak from E. coli-tainted romaine lettuce has spread to 29 states and sickened 149 people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

That is an increase of 28 people and four states – Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota and Texas – since the most recent CDC update May 2. The number of people sickened in this outbreak has climbed steadily since federal authorities began investigating a month ago, making it the worst since the 2006 baby spinach E. coli outbreak in which 205 people became ill and five of them died.

This strain of E. coli produces a toxin that causes vomiting and diarrhea and potentially other severe symptoms, including in some cases kidney failure. Of 129 people, 64, or 50 percent, have been hospitalized, including 17 people who developed severe kidney failure. One death from California has been reported. The ill people range in age from 1 to 88 years old. About 65 percent of those sickened are women. The most recent illness started April 25. But there is a time lag in reporting and confirming these cases. People who have gotten sick in the last two or three weeks may not yet be reported.

California leads the nation with 30 cases, followed by Pennsylvania with 20, and Idaho with 11.

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Bike to School Day features baby dolls in bike baskets, wheelies as Denver kids cruise to class – The Denver Post

Alysa Murphy, 5, sported a pink helmet with mouse ears while pedaling her bike along East Ninth Avenue in central Denver. Accompanied by her mother and brother — and a baby doll in the pink basket on her handlebars — Alysa made wide zigzags to Dora Moore ECE-8 school.

Alysa was one of thousands of children across the state Wednesday to hop on their wheeled steeds — or scooters — to take part in the seventh annual National Bike to School Day.

More than 135 schools across Colorado and more than 2,000 schools across the country participated in the event.

Ten-year-old David Roberts doesn’t confine his biking to school to the holiday. He rides to school every day, but what should be a 15-minute ride sometimes takes longer.

“I like to cruise,” David said, hopping on his bike outside Dora Moore and smoothly sailing down the sidewalk with one hand on the handlebars. “Then I be poppin’ wheelies.”

David reared up on one wheel and rode for a few feet before touching back down on the sidewalk.

Rebecca Mason, the mother of a Dora Moore student, handed out water and juice to kids making their way to class.

“We’re a neighborhood school,” Mason said. “There’s no reason for parents to be driving their kids to school when they can just walk or ride a bike. It’s fallen out of fashion, and we’re here to bring it back.”

Alysa’s mom, Katherine, wishes her daughter and 7-year-old son, Spencer, could cycle to school  every day. But the neighborhood school, Gilpin Montessori, closed, forcing the family to drive to Dora Moore, which is farther away.

Katherine drove her children most of the way Wednesday, then parked and let Alysa hop on her bike and Spencer jump on his scooter to cruise the rest of the way to school.

As students rode up to the front of the school — some still teetering on training wheels– Denver police handed out stickers to the children.

Denver Police officer Dan Politica, left, ...

RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

Denver Police officer Dan Politica, left, hands out stickers to students at Dora Moore Elementary School during walk and bike to school day on May 9, 2018 in Denver.

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Felicity Cloake’s masterclass: a hollandaise recipe | Life and style

For the next six weeks, consider it your patriotic duty to consume as much asparagus as possible – it’s not a vegetable that travels well, so once the British season ends on midsummer’s day, that’s it for another year. Delicate, early stalks are best steamed and served with buttery hollandaise: here’s a foolproof recipe you can have on the table in 10 minutes.

Prep 5 min
Cook 10 min
Makes 300ml

250g cold unsalted butter
4 egg yolks
¼ lemon

1 Prepare the butter

Cut the butter into roughly 1cm cubes. The butter should be fridge-cold, and preferably unsalted, so it’s easier to control the seasoning of the sauce. Put it in a small, heavy-based saucepan and, as insurance against disaster, fill the sink with cold water and boil a small amount in the kettle (see steps 4 and 7).

It’s essential that the butter is fridge-cold before you start, so you have more control over the sauce.

It’s essential that the butter is fridge-cold before you start, so you have more control over the sauce. Photograph: Dan Matthews for the Guardian

2 Prepare the eggs

Separate the eggs, and reserve the whites for something else –meringues, mousses, whisky sours or depressingly low-fat omelettes. They’ll keep, covered, in the fridge for a couple of days, or freeze in ice cube trays or bags (make sure you label the latter, so you know how many are in there). Put the yolks in the pan with the butter and add two tablespoons of cold water.

3 Start the sauce

Very slowly heat the butter and egg yolks, stirring all the time, until the butter melts and the sauce emulsifies.

Very slowly heat the butter and egg yolks, stirring all the time, until the butter melts and the sauce emulsifies.

Turn the heat on very low under the cold pan and start stirring – it’s easiest to start with a wooden spoon. As the butter gradually melts, the sauce will begin to thicken: do not be tempted to hurry the process by turning the heat up, or the mixture is likely to curdle. The sides of the pan should be cool enough to touch at all times.

4 Start whisking

Keep stirring vigorously; then, as the butter melts, switch to whisking – it’s important that you now don’t stop whisking until the sauce is ready, so if the doorbell rings, plunge the pan into the cold water in the sink (see step 1) to halt the cooking process, otherwise you risk the egg scrambling before it has a chance to form an emulsion with the butter.

5 Keep going until it’s thickened

Once all the butter has melted, turn up the heat very slightly and whisk vigorously until the sauce has thickened sufficiently for your purposes (see step 8). If the sauce begins to steam at any point, plunge the pan into the cold water in the sink at once, and keep whisking until it calms down.

Once the butter and eggs have emulsified, swap the spoon for a whisk and beat until the sauce thickens.

Once the butter and eggs have emulsified, swap the spoon for a whisk and beat until the sauce thickens.

6 Season, then eat

Add a tablespoon of lemon juice, then season the sauce to taste. Keep warm until ready to serve: hollandaise will not reheat successfully, so it’s best eaten at once, but if you do have to make it in advance, it’s best stored in a Thermos flask or in a heatproof bowl set over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water.

7 And if it curdles …

You may be able to rescue a curdled sauce by whisking in a little boiling water (hence the kettle in step 1), but if that fails to fix the problem, pour the split sauce into a heatproof jug, clean the pan and whisk another egg yolk with a splash of water in there. Gradually whisk in the curdled hollandaise until it’s all incorporated, then carry on where you left off.

8 Thick or thin?

I like my hollandaise fairly liquid when serving it with asparagus, because it can be poured over the steamed spears, but if you’re using it as a dip or making eggs benedict, you may prefer a more mayonnaise-like consistency. If it thickens too much, whisk in a little hot water from the kettle (see step 1) to thin it down.

9 A variation

For béarnaise, simmer four tablespoons of white-wine vinegar with four tablespoons of water, a finely chopped shallot and three tarragon stalks stripped of their leaves, until reduced by half. Cool, strain, then add to the hollandaise at step 2, and stir in the chopped tarragon leaves at the end.

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Would coming last in a race really be so bad? | Life and style

‘Oh boy,” I thought, watching a tiny figure descend through the mist towards me. He was heading back towards the fork in the path where I knew he should have turned right. “That guy is in trouble.”

I was about a third of the way round the Scafell Pike trail marathon but he, it turns out, was not. He wasn’t in trouble. He was Ricky Lightfoot and he had taken that right, done a loop of the summit and was now heading swiftly back down in perfect accordance with nominative determinism. He was about two hours ahead of me –going by my speed, not his – and well on his way to setting a course record for the race we were both (supposedly) running.

I trudged on up through the mist. I had trained hard for this event: I’d banked plenty of quality miles, run shorter fell races and got in a fair whack of hill training. It wasn’t enough.

As I clomped up the severe, boulder-strewn flank of England’s highest peak I reflected on the steep, technical training that West Yorkshire hadn’t offered me and my failure to seek it out elsewhere. This was my fourth marathon, and it was not going well.

A year or so earlier, I was running the Edinburgh marathon, a race that has a kinda-sorta out-and-back route, watching people go past me in the opposite direction. I was somewhere around mile 24 and on track for a respectable but thoroughly unremarkable sub-four-hour time. They were somewhere around mile 11, and already walking.

It stuck right in my craw. I had trained hard, put in the miles, stuck to a plan and made a proper go of it. These day hikers clearly hadn’t. They hadn’t respected the distance, hadn’t felt the need to train properly and weren’t looking great for finishing inside the cut-off. I felt blearily indignant, personally affronted that these people thought they could just saunter through an event that I had trained hard for.

As I blundered down Scafell Pike, now more than two hours after my Lightfoot sighting, I considered the fact that if I just relaxed a little along the tough, technical descent, I would probably roll an ankle. There would be no choice: I would have to drop out and I wouldn’t have to tell anyone that I just wasn’t up to it. I really wanted to not be running. I didn’t relax, though.

Yet another few miles along, the route left the lake shore to swerve up another hill. Purely, I think, to round the mileage up to the required 26.2. I cursed the race planners and fought the urge to throw my pack on the floor in a hissy fit.

When I finally tramped over the finish line I had been out running for seven hours and 40 minutes, almost double my fastest road marathon time. The annoying, radio-friendly house music the organisers had been playing at the finish had stopped by this point and there were just a few people left milling around. I was not quite the last, but I came 128th in a field of 154 finishers and was one of the few runners in that back 50 who didn’t fall into one of the senior categories.

It took quite a while for me to draw a line between those mile-11 Edinburgh runners and myself, but I got there eventually.

I am quite proud of my seven-hour, 40-minute Scafell Pike marathon. It was the best I was able to do at the time, somewhere out beyond the limits of any endurance event I’d done previously. But along with those mile-11 Edinburgh runners, I knew was part of a group you might call undertrained and underprepared; or who you might – if you were feeling more generous – consider to be stretching ourselves and redefining what we deem possible. It might depend on whether we have had the self-awareness to stand well back from the start line where we can’t get in your way.

The Scafell Pike race was my last marathon. As I hobbled past that mercifully silent sound system, though, I learned that I could run for well over seven hours. That knowledge eventually led me to guess that I could probably run 100km, which in turn pointed me towards my upcoming attempt at 100 miles, a distance that was utterly incomprehensible to me a few years ago. I will almost certainly finish at the back of that pack, too. If there’s a crap DJ who’s already gone home by the time I stagger over the finish line, that will be fine.

Mark E Johnson is a writer and a runner. You can find him on Instagram or (occasionally) his food site, Yorkshire Grub

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Mass. House OKs raising minimum age for buying tobacco to 21

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts House overwhelmingly approved on Wednesday raising the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes and other tobacco or vaping products from 18 to 21, a move that would bring the entire state in line with a policy already adopted by many of its cities and towns.

The new age requirement is part of legislation aimed at discouraging teens from taking up tobacco. Other provisions include a ban on vaping on school grounds and other public places, and a prohibition on the sale of tobacco products by pharmacies or stores within health care facilities.

“Smoking simply is killing our kids,” said Democratic Rep. Claire Hogan, of Stow. “If young people start smoking before 21, they often become smokers for life.”

The 146-4 vote in the House sends the bill on to the Senate, which passed a similar measure during the 2015-2016 legislative session.

Boston is among more than 170 cities and towns in Massachusetts — accounting for more than 70 percent of the state’s population — where local ordinances set 21 as the minimum age for purchasing tobacco, according to a tally kept by Tobacco 21, a national organization that supports the higher age.

Five states — California, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey and Oregon — currently have Tobacco 21 laws.

If it becomes law, the Massachusetts bill would take effect on Jan. 1. It would not apply to anyone who is already 18 by that date.

Convenience store owners who typically derive a significant share of their income from tobacco sales have resisted efforts to change the legal age, though many have also expressed a preference for a single statewide standard as opposed to the confusing patchwork of local rules and regulations that exist now.

The Coalition for Responsible Retailing, an industry group, has criticized what it calls a “loophole” in state law that makes it illegal for stores to sell tobacco to minors, but not a crime for minors to use tobacco they obtain from someone else, such as a friend or family member, or that they might buy legally in another state.

The coalition says Massachusetts should make possession of tobacco illegal for minors and impose fines on any adult — even a parent — who provides tobacco to a minor.

The House rejected, without debate, amendments proposed by Republican lawmakers that would have required persons under 21 caught with tobacco at least three times to perform community service, and allow police to confiscate tobacco or vaping products from minors.

Several lawmakers recounted losing family members to tobacco-related illnesses. Democratic Rep. Cory Atkins, of Concord, recounted her own experience getting hooked on cigarettes at age 14.

“I can’t tell you what it took to quit,” she said, finally doing so almost 20 years later.


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