I know I speak for many grandparents like me across Maine when I say I’m deeply concerned about our youth becoming addicted to tobacco products.

Big Tobacco has targeted kids with aggressive marketing and flavored products — and it has worked. In 2019, more than 6 million kids reported currently using a tobacco product and more than 1 in 4 high school students reported currently using e-cigarettes. Just last week, the New York Times reported that the tobacco industry is being sued for placing ads on kid-friendly websites and TV channels in order to entice them into trying their products.

This disgusting behavior is nothing new for the tobacco industry, which has a decades long history of doing everything it can to bring in new customers. A critical piece of Big Tobacco’s strategy is pushing flavored products; menthol flavoring in cigarettes masks the harshness of smoke, and flavors in e-cigarettes and other tobacco products attract kids while addicting them to nicotine.

That’s why I’m joining with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and calling on Congressman Jared Golden, D-2nd District, to support the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act to stop Big Tobacco from addicting a new generation of customers to their products. This bill would prohibit all flavored tobacco products and save kids from a lifetime of nicotine addiction.

Let’s act now to protect our kids’ futures.


Carol Riemer Coles


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