I urge all citizens to support Falmouth’s ordinance to ban flavored tobacco products being voted on by the Town Council in December. This is near and dear to my heart, given that both my parents and an older sister died from tobacco-related conditions. Public health, behavioral health and medical communities have long been united in calling on the Federal Drug Administration to end the manufacture and sale of flavored tobacco products. Flavored products are particularly targeted at young people, leading to increased tobacco initiation. A recent National Institute of Health Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health study found that almost 81% of 12- to 17-year-olds who had ever used a tobacco product initiated use with a flavored product. Young people who do not begin smoking by their early 20s are unlikely to ever start.

Although some may argue that prohibition and banning don’t work, one need only look at the experiences of South Portland, Brunswick and other Maine communities, which are experiencing a reduction in teen smoking after banning the sale of flavored tobacco. New and hopefully healthier revenue streams will be needed by businesses whose profits rely on flavored tobacco products. Yet, I trust that our families, businesses and Town Council members will prioritize the health of our children and teens over profits.

Please join me and contact our council members before Dec. 11 to let them know you care and are in support of the ordinance to ban flavored tobacco products in our community.

Julie Schirmer

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