A group of Maine businesses has formed a coalition to lobby for a ban on flavored tobacco products, arguing that the flavors are a ploy to attract teens to become addicted to nicotine.

The coalition – called Tobacco Free Maine Works – is an offshoot of the Flavors Hook Kids Maine lobbying effort to ban flavored tobacco products. A bill has not yet been filed, but state Sen. Jill Duson, D-Portland, is expected to submit one.

The Flavors Hook Kids Maine advocacy group has been successful in getting flavored tobacco products banned in Portland, South Portland, Brunswick and Bangor, and is now taking the effort statewide.

Among the businesses and nonprofits that have so far signed on to the effort include MEMIC in Portland, Northern Light Health, Silverball Tavern in Saco, The Senator Inn & Spa in Augusta, Reel Cinerama in Bar Harbor, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, Community Health Options in Lewiston and Lighthouse Bikes in South Portland.

“My family has been impacted by youth getting hooked on flavored tobacco products, and as a small business owner, that has absolutely affected my business,” said Leah Day, owner of Lighthouse Bikes in South Portland, in a statement. “My child was in the hospital for eight days because he became so hooked, so fast, on flavored tobacco products. The tobacco companies know how addictive these products are, and yet they continue to market them to children. No more. It stops here in Maine, and it stops now.”

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