Bans on flavored tobacco sales take effect in Maine communities

Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 7:19 AM EDT
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PORTLAND, Maine (WMTW) - As of Wednesday, you can no longer buy flavored tobacco products in Portland or Brunswick.

New ordinances banning the sale are in effect.

The city of Bangor was actually the first community in Maine to pass a ban, but the city council had to repeal that ordinance last month due to a procedural error of not providing proper notice to impacted businesses.

Advocates say the bans are a matter of public health, saying that flavored products are especially attractive to kids, leading more younger people to start using tobacco products.

The American Lung Association says that from 2019 to 2020, the number of teenagers using e-cigarettes rose by 30%.

“Three communities now have decided that the health and safety of our kids come before profits for the tobacco industry, and we are hopeful that lawmakers in Augusta will do the same,” said BJ McCollister, campaign manager for Flavors Hook Kids Maine.

The Maine Legislature has considered proposals over the last couple of years to ban flavored tobacco products statewide, but those efforts have not gained traction.

The most recent effort would have also included a $1,000 fine for first offenses and $5,000 fines for subsequent offenses.

That proposal never got a vote before the full legislature.

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