High School Advocate Urges Maine Lawmakers to Prohibit the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products

Youth report flavors a leading reason they use tobacco products and perceive flavored products as less harmful; it’s time for Maine to protect kids from Big Tobacco’s targeted marketing

April 25, 2023

AUGUSTA – Today, Maine lawmakers will hear testimony on LD 1215 “An Act To End the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products.” This legislation would end the sale of all flavored tobacco products in Maine, including menthol cigarettes.

The following statement can be attributed to Kaden Schneider, a high school junior a Brunswick High School, who will deliver testimony at today’s hearing:

“The tobacco industry is targeting my friends and classmates, and one of the reasons so many of them are getting hooked is because of the appeal of fruity and candy type flavors. From what I see, most kids vape or smoke because they think it’s cool and most wouldn’t be using if it didn’t taste good. When they start using, many of them have trouble stopping – just like the tobacco industry intended.

“Whether you call them e-cigarettes or call them vapes, the use of flavored tobacco products in any form effects all of us – there are kids across every stereotypical high school group that do it. Some kids can hardly make it through one class without needing to use their or their friend’s e-cigarettes, filled with some fruity or otherwise appealing flavor.

“Lawmakers need to pay attention to what’s happening to my friends and classmates and act to end the sale of flavored tobacco products in Maine. A town-by-town approach isn’t enough to keep protect kids – we need to make sure these products aren’t being sold anywhere in the state, in order to protect kids everywhere in the state.”

Additional information:

  • Among all middle and high school students who currently use e-cigarettes, approximately 8 in 10 reported using flavored e-cigarettes.
  • In recent years, overall youth tobacco use in Maine has skyrocketed with nearly 1 in 5 high school students using some form of tobacco product in the last 30 days, including nearly 30% of 12th graders.
  • More than one in 20 Maine high school students smoke cigarettes.
  • Tobacco use remains the largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States and Maine. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, smoking is a known cause of a dozen cancers: cancer of the oropharynx, larynx, lung/trachea/bronchus, esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, cervix, bladder, colon, and acute myeloid leukemia. In fact, smoking is responsible for nearly 34 percent of cancer deaths in Maine. Maine has the 9th highest rate of tobacco-related cancer deaths in the nation.
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Amber Herting