Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In response to Jeff Leadbetter’s piece in the BDN regarding his opposition to ending the sale of flavored tobacco products in Maine, I have a different perspective as a doctor, and parent of two teens. The potential profit losses to small businesses are a sensitive and genuine concern. However, profits should never come before a child’s wellbeing.
There is a real public health crisis in our state. With 33 percent of Maine’s high schoolers using tobacco products, the need to intervene has never been so strong.
Four out of five kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product. It’s no surprise, given the high levels of nicotine, in-your-face advertising, and sweet flavors like Cotton Clouds, Blue Razz, and Tropical Rainbow Blast.
Saying that Maine already has a law prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 as an answer to teen tobacco addiction is naive. Although this law is in place, kids in Maine continue to obtain tobacco products.
Once a child experiments with flavored tobacco, they can develop a dependency almost immediately, setting them down a path of addiction and disease. Our children deserve better.
I urge Maine lawmakers to help protect our kids and future generations from a lifetime of addiction. Support LD 1550, An Act to End the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products.