An alarming number of young people in Maine are using tobacco products today – often in the form of flavored e-cigarettes.

Fifteen years ago, when I was a high school student, that wasn’t the case. But my friends who have high schoolers now can attest to the fact that e-cigarette use is widespread. Nearly 30 percent of Maine high school students currently use them – that’s nearly double the percentage in 2017. And the federal government isn’t doing enough to solve the problem.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, high school students often use e-cigarettes because they’re attracted to the different flavors on the market, ranging from simple flavors such as peach, strawberry or menthol to more creative ones, like Gummi Bear and Unicorn Poop.

You may think the FDA has this under control because the agency’s new policy, which recently went into effect, limits the sale of certain flavored e-cigarettes. However, the policy is full of loopholes and will leave many flavored products widely available.

Maine’s legislators should take all flavored tobacco products off the market. Some states, such as Massachusetts, have already passed legislation to do so. Maine should join them in order to prevent another generation of kids from struggling with tobacco addiction.

Lauren Tripolitis

Portland

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