PORTLAND — Nearly two thirds of polled Maine voters support a law that would end the sale of all flavored tobacco products in Maine. The poll results, released Jan. 3, indicated that more than half (53%) strongly favor such a law, and three-quarters (76%) are concerned about young people becoming addicted to tobacco products.

According to a spokesman for Sutherland Weston, a Bangor public relations firm, the national Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids funded the poll. Lake Research Partners of Washington, D.C., conducted the poll of 800 likely 2022 Maine voters in December 2021.

“This poll reinforces what we know to be true: Most Mainers understand that flavored tobacco products are being marketed to kids with the intent to get them hooked early,” said Rep. Michelle Meyer, D-Eliot, who has sponsored statewide legislation (LD 1550) in Maine to end the sale of flavored tobacco products. “The health and safety of our children is paramount for Maine people, and it is time that a law be passed to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products in Maine,” Meyer said in a press release issued by Sutherland Weston Jan. 3.

Support for the new law had nearly universal support in the poll, across all demographics, education levels, political parties and parental status, according to the release.

The most powerful argument in favor of ending the sales of flavored tobacco products centers on the priority of protecting Maine children. Three times as many voters think it is more important to end the sales of flavored tobacco products to help prevent Maine youth from starting and becoming addicted to these products over a statement that it is more important to protect local small businesses and their ability to employ members of the community by selling flavored tobacco products.

LD 1550, An Act To End the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products, could be taken up by the Maine House of Representatives this year. If enacted, it would end the sale of flavored tobacco products such as candy- and fruit-flavored electronic cigarettes, sweet flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes, throughout Maine. In October, the Bangor City Council voted to end the sale of flavored tobacco products within the city, which will go into effect in June. The Portland City Council is set to take up the issue this month, with other cities and towns around Maine potentially following their lead.

“The data shows that Mainers overwhelmingly support ending the sale of flavored tobacco products,” said BJ McCollister, campaign manager for Flavors Hook Kids Maine. “We can do this by banding together not just for the health and safety of our kids, but for the health and safety of the entire state.”

Dozens of partners have joined the effort, including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and several local organizations. More details can be found at FlavorsHookKidsMaine.org.