The Portland City Council voted unanimously on Monday to end the sale of flavored tobacco products. The ban will take effect on June 1 and includes all flavored tobacco products including menthol cigarettes which have been around since 1925.

BJ McCollister, campaign manager for Flavors Hook Kids Maine, said in a press release, "The Council’s action will crackdown on the tobacco industry’s most pernicious tactic for luring and addicting kids – the marketing of flavored products,”

Now that this ban has passed in major cities in Maine, including Portland and Bangor, it makes me wonder, what's next?

Let me first state that I do not in any way condone tobacco use by those under 21. I actually don't condone it for anyone as a non-smoker my entire life and as someone who lost his mother to lung cancer when she was 58-years-old after a lifetime of smoking.

The same goes for the consumption of alcohol for those under the age of 21. But if we ban flavored tobacco, what's to stop a ban on flavored alcohol? I don't see the difference.

Case in point, I have a 12-pack of Bud Light hard soda in my fridge. It comes in classic cola, cherry, orange and citrus flavors. I love it as an adult who is legally allowed to drink it. But how is this any different than flavored tobacco?

Jeff Parsons
Jeff Parsons

Wouldn't carding every single individual who buys tobacco help alleviate the problem rather than the approach of banning it outright? I'm a 50-year-old man who is carded every time he buys alcohol at the convenience store and all they have to do is scan is barcode on the back of my ID. Done. No inconvenience to me whatsoever. Make that mandatory for all places selling tobacco and alcohol. The approach of banning something kids want, so no one can have it, doesn't seem like a fair approach to me.

Again, no one under 21 should have access to alcohol or tobacco, but if they want it badly enough, they'll find a way.

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