Massachusetts just passed the first law in the country to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products. Although Maryland has taken steps to address the youth e-cigarette epidemic in its own communities by raising the minimum sales age for tobacco products, it should follow Massachusetts’ footsteps quickly. Delegate Dereck Davis plans to introduce legislation in this session to make that happen.
More than one in four high schoolers reported vaping this year, and flavored products help fuel youth e-cigarette use. An analysis by the Food and Drug Administration showed that 70% of youth vapers said that they use the products “because they come in flavors I like.” Another study by researchers at the University of North Carolina Chapel-Hill showed that flavors decrease perceptions of harm.
Flavored tobacco products hook youth, and then highly addictive nicotine keeps them coming back for more. In order to protect Maryland’s kids, state legislators should promptly pass Del. Davis’s bill in the upcoming session to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products.