To the Editor:

If you smoke, dip, vape, or like a cigar or pipe now and then, get ready for some big changes if politicians have their way in Augusta. Lawmakers are proposing a ban on tobacco with flavors. That means people who like their wintergreen snuff, menthol cigarettes, vanilla pipe tobacco, or flavored vapes will have to drive to New Hampshire or Canada to get them. Didn’t we learn our lesson when politicians banned alcohol in the 20s and 30s? If people want to drink, they’ll find a way. If people want to smoke menthols or dip Grizzly Wintergreen, they’ll find a way – even if they have to break the law or be inconvenienced.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard all about the risks of smoking. It’s why I’ve seen a steady decline over the past 20 years in the number of people who stop in to pick up a pack of cigs. Beyond educating people about the potential health effects of smoking, dipping, or vaping, I don’t see how it’s the government’s business to tell my adult customers what they can or can’t inhale or ingest. If you’re a young person, that’s a whole other story, and it’s why I supported the state and federal government raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21.
Tobacco sales don’t make up a considerable portion of my revenues, so if state lawmakers take the same path as Massachusetts and ban flavored tobacco here in Maine, it won’t affect my business that much. For many other convenience store operators and gas station owners who rely on those sales to keep their doors open and pay their employees, this law could have devastating consequences.
Banning highly regulated and law-abiding businesses from selling legal flavored tobacco won’t stop adults from buying the products here in Maine; customers will just shift their purchases across state lines and to the internet or the black market. Politicians who again bow to the pressures of those who think adults can’t make their own decisions won’t keep people from smoking or vaping, but they will unnecessarily take down law-abiding, responsible Maine businesses. Prohibition didn’t work 100 years ago. It won’t work now.

Larry Donald


Sandy River Farm Supply

New Sharon

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