I have been an advocate in the field of public health for over 20 years. It is one of my passions to put the health and safety of my friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances at the forefront of my work.

When I became a mom, it became doubly important to put my daughter’s health and safety above all. This is why I continue my work as a volunteer.

The Forecaster took some time to cover the issue of ending the sale of flavored tobacco locally, which is coming before the Brunswick Town Council in early April. The Maine Legislature may vote to implement this policy statewide as well.

It was disheartening to read the comments from a researcher saying that we could be taking a step backward if we end the sale of tobacco products that are specifically marketed toward youth. This comment is almost as disturbing as the reports of vaping in the junior high bathroom (which I receive weekly from my daughter).

Quoted in the article is Abigail Friedman, an associate professor of health policy at the Yale School of Public Health. What’s not revealed in the article is that Friedman authored the “San Francisco Study” that is often used by the tobacco industry to claim that ending the sale of flavored tobacco won’t work. That study has been proven to be flawed, namely for not basing the study on any data collected after ending the sale of flavors.

I am glad that the study was not included in the article. However, having the author of a flawed study featured so prominently discredits the entire piece.

Ending the sale of flavored tobacco products in Brunswick and in Maine would benefit the health and safety of our kids. Period. 

Becky Smith
American Heart Association volunteer

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