The Brunswick Town Council voted to ban the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco and nicotine products at a meeting Tuesday night.  

In a unanimous vote, the council prohibited the sale of e-cigarettes, sweet-flavored cigars, menthol cigarettes and chewable nicotine products that smell and taste like candy, mint or fruit. The council said its goal was to prevent children from accessing the products, which critics believe are marketed to youths to get them started smoking at a young age. 

“Tonight, the town of Brunswick proved its commitment to protecting kids from Big Tobacco’s continued targeting by voting to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products in the town,” said Hilary Schneider, a Brunswick resident and Maine director of government relations at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “This is a sound public health policy that will pay out in dividends as fewer youth become addicted to these deadly products. Our town council members should be applauded for their vote to prioritize public health and protect our kids and community members from all flavored products, without exemptions.” 

Ryan Bernier, general manager of Jenney Station Tobacco Shop, said he believes the ban won’t accomplish anything.

“After really thinking about it, I do not know what the council accomplished last night,” he said. “If anyone was listening to that meeting, they would hear that even they said that this isn’t going to accomplish anything, but they had to do it. It is too bad it had to happen and could not go another way. The law that is in place was already preventing the youths from getting their hands on it and I do not see what banning products will accomplish for anyone.”

According to previous reporting, Primo Glass Manager Justin Leblanc said that roughly 90% of their products consist of flavored tobacco. He also argued that banning flavored tobacco would not be effective in preventing youth from accessing it.


“The kids are going to do whatever they want to do regardless,” he said. “It is up to the parents to parent them and up to the schools to check the bathrooms or check for vapes. It shouldn’t be on us to ban it just because they have it.”

According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, an American nonprofit that advocates against tobacco consumption, a poll highlighted that almost two-thirds of likely Maine voters favor a law to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products in 2022. 

“Menthol, mint and other candy- and fruit-flavored tobacco products are a key part of the tobacco industry’s strategy to entice our youth into a potential lifetime of addiction,” Schneider said. “Research shows that flavors drive the unprecedented increase in youth tobacco uptake, with 81% of kids who have ever tried tobacco starting with a flavored product.”

After enacting this ordinance, Brunswick will follow at least 145 communities nationwide that placed restrictions on the sale of menthol cigarettes, in addition to other flavored tobacco products, according to the nonprofit.

Brunswick’s ban comes after Bangor City Council voted to end the sale of flavored tobacco products late last year and Portland City Council voted unanimously to do the same this February. All three ordinances are effective June 1.

In Brunswick, those who violate the ban will be warned, with subsequent violations resulting in fines ranging from $100 to $500.

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