Thank you to the city of Portland; you have made your citizens proud.

Portland has shown the country that it prioritizes the health and well-being of its children. Recently, Portland City Council members unanimously voted to end the sale of flavored tobacco products and sent a strong statement against big tobacco companies. By ending the sale of flavored tobacco, Portland has stopped teen smoking at the root of the issue.

The timing could not have come at a more critical time. Currently, 33% of Maine high schoolers use tobacco products, putting teen tobacco addiction at an epidemic level. The reasons flavored tobacco products must go are many. The biggest reasons include their highly toxic ingredients and manipulative marketing tactics aimed at children. Big tobacco companies ruthlessly target teens and minorities in their marketing efforts to sell flavored tobacco products. They aggressively advertise in minority communities, feature cartoon characters on their packaging, offer a wide variety of candy-like flavors and sell products at rock-bottom prices.

The momentum is building in favor of ending the sale of flavored tobacco products in our state after both Portland and Bangor gave a definitive end date of June 1 for flavored tobacco sales.

Help the effort to end the sale of flavored tobacco and stop the attack on Maine children. Reach out to your local legislators and Gov. Mills. Tell them to end the sale of flavored tobacco products statewide to help keep our kids healthy and save lives.

Yusuf Yusuf

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