Opinion

Flavored tobacco needs to go

To the editor:

Although the FDA has denied marketing applications for over 1 million flavored e-cigarette products, they have yet to stop all flavored tobacco sales and there are still more than 15,000 flavors on the market to choose from. 

Flavored tobacco products target young people with colorful, candy-covered packaging and enticing flavors like Tropical Fruit, Gummy Bear, Mango Slushee and Green Apple. These dessert-like flavors hook kids with highly addictive ingredients that are dangerous for developing lungs. 

With teen smoking rates on the rise, it is estimated that one out of every four Maine teens currently uses tobacco products. Four out of five teens start with flavored tobacco. I know because I was one of them. I started experimenting with menthol cigarettes at age 15 and have struggled with tobacco dependence ever since. I am currently 49 days tobacco-free in my most recent quit attempt, but I know that if menthol cigarettes had not been an option, I never would have started smoking in the first place.

Every day these products are on the market, more and more young adults like me are getting hooked and struggling to break the habit for good. With the slow response from the FDA, Mainers need to take action and urge our local city officials and Governor Mills to end the sale of flavored tobacco products in Maine.

Christina Zell
Caribou, Maine

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