AUGUSTA – Some high schoolers are supporting a bill that would ban the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco products, often used in vaping.
South Portland students and the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Rebecca Millett, D – South Portland, voiced concerns about what they said is a rise of young people using e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine.
One of the more common brand names is “Juul”.
While there is an age limit for purchasing tobacco products, students said they see vaping all over Maine schools, and that the different flavors attract younger users.
Grace Rende, a South Portland student said she wants to see the bill move forward because, “the flavor is what gets them addicted.”
“Now there are like sixth graders and seventh graders that are addicted to it, which is just disgusting,” said another student, Max Calkins.
Local vape shop owners have spoken out against similar bills in recent months, saying people have to be 21-years-old just to enter their stores.
Others have said vaping helped them stop smoking traditional cigarettes.
And some Republicans agree they don’t want those small businesses to have to close.
“I think parents need to get control of their kids and tell them better what they should and shouldn’t be doing. It’s not up to government to ban products. I think that’s a bad idea,” said Rep. Beth O’Connor, R – Berwick.
The bill to ban flavored tobacco products is still being worked on in committee before it can move to the full legislature.