Health experts, including the U.S. Surgeon General, are calling e-cigarette use among young people an epidemic. It’s imperative that Maine legislators act quickly to reduce the access and appeal of the products to youth, and taxing e-cigarettes is one of the surest ways to do so (“Bill to add tobacco tax to vaping products moves forward,” June 8).

From 2017 through 2018, e-cig use among high schoolers jumped 78 percent, with one in five students using the products. My mother, a high school math teacher for 40 years, has seen firsthand how rampant vaping is among students.

E-cigarettes often contain high levels of nicotine – a drug that can affect memory, learning ability and attention among young people, and increase their risk of future addiction to other substances. Studies also show that young e-cig users are three times more likely than non-users to start smoking combustible cigarettes.

A bill that would increase the tax on e-cigarettes will soon come out of committee in the Maine Legislature and be up for a vote. Increasing the price of tobacco products makes it less likely that youth will use them in the first place, and more likely that they’ll quit.

Call on your state representative and state senator to support this bill and help prevent Maine’s youth from getting caught in the nicotine trap.

Matt Wellington


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