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Portland is now the second city in Maine to ban flavored tobacco sales

This Jan. 2, 2020, file photo shows flavored vaping liquids and devices on display at the VapeNY.com store in New York. New York lawmakers could ban flavored tobacco products including vape pens and menthol cigarettes amid growing concern over the tobacco industry's use of flavorings to attract young people and African-Americans. A spokesman said Monday, Jan. 13 that the Democratic Senate Majority plans to pass a ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and prohibition on smokeless flavored tobacco products as soon as the following week.
Mary Altaffer
/
AP
This Jan. 2, 2020, file photo shows flavored vaping liquids and devices on display at the VapeNY.com store in New York. New York lawmakers could ban flavored tobacco products including vape pens and menthol cigarettes amid growing concern over the tobacco industry's use of flavorings to attract young people and African-Americans. A spokesman said Monday, Jan. 13 that the Democratic Senate Majority plans to pass a ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and prohibition on smokeless flavored tobacco products as soon as the following week.

Portland is now the second city in Maine to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products.

On Monday night, city councilors unanimously approved a ban after hours of testimony. Among those who spoke were several tobacco retailers, who argued that the ban would hurt their business, while customers would simply travel to other towns to purchase flavored products.

But many students, parents and public health experts said that a ban would protect public health and deter young people from ever using tobacco products, particularly e-cigarettes.

"We urge you to prioritize the health, hope, and productivity of Portland's kids. If passed, this could help protect the next generation of Portland's kids from another epidemic of addiction," said Leslie Clark, the executive director of the Portland Recovery Community Center.

Bangor passed a similar amendment last year, and the town of Brunswick plans to consider a ban later this month.

Both the Portland and Bangor bans go into effect at the beginning of June.