In this file photo from 2021, Bangor YMCA CEO Diane Dickerson speaks in support of a ban on flavored tobacco sales in Bangor during a city council meeting on Monday. Dickerson said the effort was ultimately about protecting children from addiction to tobacco products. Credit: David Marino Jr. / BDN

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I am writing to ask, to urge, to beg the Bangor City Council to vote to end the sale of flavored tobacco products. The council has already voted in favor of this once. I was proud to see my community leading the charge to hopefully make this a statewide law. Portland and Brunswick followed.

The council says that a “procedural” issue has created a situation where they had to repeal the ordinance and vote again. I had hoped it would be a “procedural” vote. Based on what I am hearing and reading, I worry whether big tobacco has gotten in the ear of some of our councilors.

I was in high school only a few years ago. At the time, I felt like we were winning the war against youth smoking. Now, we are backtracking. Kids are getting their hands on flavored tobacco. We were basically told the products “aren’t that bad for you.” But what we are learning is that addiction happens quickly, youth lose interest in things like studying and sports, and quitting is a lot more difficult than we thought.

Getting these products out of our stores will only help us get back on the right track and help younger people not start smoking.

The Bangor City Council made this happen once, and they can do it again. It is absolutely the right thing to do, and I strongly urge councilors to lead again and vote to end the sale of flavored tobacco products.

Kayla Boucher