Following the recent decision by the Hallowell City Council to prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products, I feel compelled to express my gratitude for their unintended support in directing business to Augusta. While the council’s aim was to curb the use of flavored tobacco, their action merely shifts the market for these products across city boundaries. This outcome underscores a fundamental truth: prohibition is ineffective. Whether observed in the Prohibition era with alcohol or in the contemporary war on drugs, banning substances only drives users to other markets, including black markets in the case of all out bans on a substance.

Consequently, I urge my counterparts on the Augusta City Council and House lawmakers Bill Bridgeo and Raegan LaRochelle, to resist any proposals aimed at prohibiting flavored tobacco — whether at the local or state level. Specifically, I implore our representatives to oppose L.D. 1215, which seeks to outlaw the sale of flavored tobacco statewide. L.D. 1215 represents a regressive step, echoing failed policies of the past.

Instead of pursuing an outright ban on flavored tobacco products, we should focus on implementing evidence-based strategies that have proven effective in reducing harm and promoting public health. This includes robust education and prevention programs targeted at young people, strict regulations on marketing and advertising to discourage underage consumption, and increased penalties for adults who provide flavored tobacco to minors. By learning from the failures of prohibition and embracing harm reduction strategies, we can create a healthier and more equitable society for everyone.


Courtney Gary-Allen

city councilor


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