Every day Maine children are falling victim to the allure of Big Tobacco’s dangerous marketing of nicotine containing products. In 2018, 27% of kids reported using tobacco products, and youth use of e-cigarettes, like Juul and other similar vaping products, skyrocketed by 78% among those in high school over the past year alone.

Flashy design and expensive, effective marketing by tobacco companies paired with products that use fruit, candy, mint, and menthol flavors to appeal to youth have proven very effective in boosting sales of these products to our children.

The role of flavoring cannot be overstated as more than 80% of kids who have used tobacco products report that their first use was a flavored product. Easing harsh taste and feel, the flavors and creative packaging highlighting the flavor are a leading reason for adoption.

As an ambassador for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, I traveled to Washington, D.C., specifically to meet with all four members of Maine’s congressional delegation on Sept. 10 at their offices asking each to cosponsor and/or support the SAFE Kids Act and the Reversing the Youth Epidemic Act to protect our children from a lifelong addiction.

Flavored tobacco products create a rapid pathway to nicotine addiction before many of our children in Maine are mature enough to fully recognize their increased risk of disease and death from tobacco products. This is a crisis. Please join me in raising awareness on this issue.

 

Carol Coles

Starks

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