I moved to South Portland in January and was genuinely shocked to see a smoke/e-cigarette/vape shop across from Mahoney Middle School. In plain view, with neon signs flashing.

Are there no zoning laws to protect our schools and children from this kind of exposure? What was the rationale for allowing a store like this in such a sensitive location? The statistics are alarming, citing that vaping nicotine and e-cigarette use nearly doubled in high school in 12 months, with an astonishing 48% jump in use by middle schoolers. This is an alarming epidemic that will have disastrous results.

There clearly are places where the message that smoking is harmful has not been taken seriously – like South Portland. I hope other towns and cities will keep these stores and their harmful merchandise away from important venues like schools, sports areas and other places where our children study and play and prepare to become adults.

Pat Thatcher
South Portland

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