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Bangor committee takes public comment, votes to recommend proposed ban on sale of flavored tobacco products in Bangor

Bangor’s Advisory Committee on Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Human Rights took public comment and voted to recommend a proposed ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products in the city.
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 10:16 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Bangor’s Advisory Committee on Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Human Rights took public comment and voted to recommend a proposed ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products in the city.

The committee voted 5-0 with one abstaining to recommend to the City Council that the ordinance ought to pass.

The ordinance doesn’t ban the *use* of flavored tobacco products, but it does prohibit retailers from selling, displaying, marketing or advertising them.

Penalties would include fines of up to $100 for the first violation that scale up to $1,000 for subsequent offenses.

The ordinance would go into effect on January 1, 2022.

People on both sides of the issue, including local business owners and tobacco prevention experts, spoke out at the meeting.

”It’s not going to stop people from smoking. It’s not going to stop them from seeking flavored products,” said Christine Peters, COO of Maine Smoke Shop. “I’ve talked to many of my customers about this issue. They’re not going to stop. They’re actually angry, they feel discriminated against.”

“This is an industry that has targeted kids and minority communities and has profited handsomely from it,” said Kevin O’Flaherty of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “They just want you to protect their ability to keep kids getting addicted.”

The ordinance has also been recommended to pass by the Government Operations Committee.

The final decision is now in the hands of City Council, who is expected to vote on the ordinance on October 25th.

That meeting will also take public comment.

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