A man walks around the rear of the State House in Augusta on June 30, 2021. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

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Due to strong evidence of the harms of cigarette use, cigarette smoking has become increasingly restricted. The tobacco industry developed new products that can avoid community indoor smoke-free laws. Two of these products included e-cigarettes/vaping devices and a new breed of flavored tobacco products that skirt the 2009 federal ban against flavored cigarettes.

These devices and flavors are aggressively marketed to youth, as well as other vulnerable populations, and have led to skyrocketing youth nicotine exposure rates — in fact, the U.S. surgeon general has reported that e-cigarettes are the leading product for youth use. Because there is evidence that ending the sale of flavored tobacco can help to prevent youth from starting to use tobacco products, LD 1215, An Act to End the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products, also will help give our youth a strong foundation for good mental and physical health for the rest of their lives.

Helping to prevent youth from accessing flavored products via this bill does not prevent adults from continuing to access nicotine via unflavored products — it doesn’t prohibit the use of any substance, in fact. And if people want to use a vaping device to help them quit using other addictive substances, they still can.

I strongly urge state legislators to support the health of all Mainers by ending the sale of flavored tobacco products, including mint and menthol, in Maine by voting “yes” on LD 1215. We recently passed this bill in the Senate; now the House needs to follow suit.

Maria Donahue

Southwest Harbor