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A recent column in the Bangor Daily News from a prominent convenience store chain owner opposed ending the sale of flavored tobacco products in Maine; however, I believe his reasoning was shortsighted.
The writer stated that tobacco use is at an all-time low. Sadly, tobacco use in high schoolers is at a staggering 33 percent, giving Maine the deplorable distinction of having one of the highest teen smoking rates in the entire country. Clearly, the current 21 and over law on tobacco is failing to keep these products out of the hands of our children.
Studies show that one in four Maine high school students now use flavored e-cigarettes. That rate has nearly doubled in the past year alone and will continue to increase If nothing is done.
Maine’s children deserve better than a life plagued by tobacco addiction. Most smokers report wanting to quit but find it difficult to cut the habit entirely due to the crushing effects of tobacco dependency; this fate is something we can help combat for future generations.
I understand that profits for small businesses are a valid concern; however, no profit is greater than the health and wellbeing of our children. A recent poll revealed that nearly two-thirds of Mainers favor a bill that would end the sale of flavored tobacco products throughout the state.
We should rally together and show support for LD 1550, An Act to End The Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products throughout our state. I’m calling on our legislators to pass this legislation.