In this Sept. 3, 2019, file photo, electronic cigarette pods are displayed for sale at a shop in Biddeford. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

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Did you know there are more than 15,000 tobacco product flavors on the market? Electronic cigarettes, some disguised as USB drives, are marketed to kids in flavors like Unicorn Tears and Mocha Mint. Did you know that kids who smoke e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking regular cigarettes than kids that never tried them?

Because of the tobacco industry’s tactics, we are faced with another generation that will die prematurely from tobacco use. Moreover, research shows associations between cigarette and alcohol use, and risk for other drug use, including marijuana, heroin and cocaine. Why? Nicotine reprograms genes associated with addiction, and ultimately alters our behavioral response to drugs.

Bangor’s City Council is considering an ordinance to end the sale of flavored tobacco products. Maine Public Health Association is confident this proposal will save thousands of lives in Maine. The hearing is at 7:30 p.m. Monday. Councilors are weighing acting now and protecting Maine kids from the predatory tobacco industry; or waiting for state or federal action and continuing to let the tobacco industry profit from youth addiction.

Maine Public Health Association strongly supports ending flavored tobacco sales now. For smokers looking to quit, there are Food and Drug Administration-approved cessation methods available, which are less expensive and more successful than e-cigarettes. Don’t let the tobacco industry win. Don’t let them use flavors to turn Maine kids into replacement smokers, stepping in for those who have died from tobacco use. Please contact the Bangor City Council and ask them to support this ordinance.

Rebecca J. Boulos

Executive director

Maine Public Health Association

Augusta

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