As a Cony High School student and public health advocate, I feel compelled to address some misconceptions surrounding L.D. 1215, An Act to End the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products.

Councilor Courtney Gary-Allen’s recently published letter argues that ending the sale of flavored tobacco will simply divert sales to neighboring communities like Augusta, overlooking the positive public health impacts of such legislation, such as curbing youth initiation rates and preventing tobacco addiction in the first place. In addition, Councilor Gary-Allen’s argument fails to acknowledge the proven effectiveness of similar measures in reducing youth tobacco use rates in other states and cities.

My own encounter with flavored tobacco disguised as mint-flavored gum at a school event proves how insidious these products are and the urgent need for legislative action. The deceptive packaging and enticing flavors of these products pose a serious threat to youth, who may unknowingly become addicted and suffer from lifelong health consequences.

I urge our local leaders, including Reps. Bill Bridgeo and Raegan LaRochelle, to stand firm in their commitment to public health and support policies aimed at ending the sale of flavored tobacco products. Legislation such as L.D. 1215 represents a progressive step towards safeguarding the well-being of our community and future generations.

I believe that by working together and prioritizing the health and safety of our residents, we can overcome the challenges posed by flavored tobacco products and create a brighter, healthier future for all.


Matteo Hardy


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