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Ban the sale of flavored tobacco in Maryland | READER COMMENTARY

Manager Jeff Trout talks about the campaign to end the sale of flavored tobacco products in Chicago at Cloud Vapor Lounge in Logan Square, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in Chicago. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)
Manager Jeff Trout talks about the campaign to end the sale of flavored tobacco products in Chicago at Cloud Vapor Lounge in Logan Square, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in Chicago. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

I strongly agree with the recent commentary by Comptroller Peter Franchot and Dr. Enid Neptune urging state legislators to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products (”Prioritize Maryland’s health: Remove flavored tobacco products from the market,” Feb. 10). As a parent of three teenagers, I am deeply concerned about the role flavors play in the alarming numbers of youth who are vaping.

There are three aspects of the use of flavors in tobacco that are particularly harmful to young people. First and foremost, flavors hook kids. Second, flavors mask tobacco-related risks, leaving young people more vulnerable to addiction than they would with the absence of flavors. Third, flavors do not help adults quit smoking.

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There are nearly 15,000 vape and e-cigarette flavors on the market. Eight out of 10 teens report they began vaping because of the flavors. More than 65% of kids who vape report they had no idea these devices contain nicotine.

There are currently two bills before the Maryland House and Senate, Senate Bill 177 and House Bill 134, both of which would ban the sale of flavored tobacco including mint and menthol. The flavor ban should be passed this session and it should be done without exceptions or amendments.

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Linda J. Willard, Chevy Chase

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