The legislator does not act on flavored tobacco

I was raised to do things that help protect people from known dangers, and recently the Maine Legislature had the opportunity to take such a step. But in the closing days of the session, he failed to shield Maine’s youth from the lure of flavored cigarettes.

Like the teenagers before them, these devices are considered cool; little attention is paid to the potential for a lifetime of addiction and dangerous health effects.

I was a high school student in the mid-1960s and was charmed by the image of a desert animal on the front of a pack of cigarettes; it became my brand, without filters, of course. At that time, advertising campaigns promoted cigarettes on television and on billboards; even Hank Aaron beckoned us towards the habit. I was already hooked when the US Surgeon General required a smoking warning label on every pack of cigarettes. I developed chronic bronchitis over four years, so I listened to my doctor and quit.

In 2020, flavored tobacco is marketed directly to our youth which now includes three of my grandchildren in their teens; the flavors are designed to seduce them and the high levels of nicotine to hook them. I listened to the reasons given in favor of e-cigarettes, but I could only conclude: at what cost to the lives of the young people of Maine? Our state will pay for the lasting health effects; lives will be harmed or even lost (look for cancer rates among smokers).

I am deeply disappointed in the Maine legislature for its cowardly action on behalf of the children of Maine.

Elizabeth M. Cooke


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