Maine - ban on flavored tobacco products..

September 30, 2007 - Maine has enacted two new laws to restrict the sale of candy- and fruit-flavored tobacco products to minors, and to ban tobacco from school premises at all times. Governor John E. Baldacci at a ceremony to publicize the new restrictions at the start of the academic year said he had been "outraged" when he first learned of tobacco products with candy and fruit flavors being pitched to juveniles.

The new laws are LD 1361, "An Act Concerning Certain Flavored Cigarettes and Cigars," and LD 184, "An Act to Protect Children's Health on School Grounds". The school grounds law makes schools tobacco-free environments, including when school is not in session, such as during sporting events.

The governor warned policymakers and advocates that continued vigilance is necessary because tobacco companies are demonstrating they can be "relentless in their pursuit of addicting new-and often young people" as customers. "Tobacco companies focus on young people because they know that two-thirds of smokers start by the age of 18," said Baldacci. "Not surprisingly, the tobacco companies are becoming more and more aggressive with their flavored tobacco products and other means to target youth."

Although Maine has earned top ratings from the Lung Association's Annual Tobacco Report Card, the governor said 16 percent of high school students in the state smoke.

The flavored cigarette and cigar ban prohibits the sale or distribution of such products beginning July 1, 2009. The tobacco-free rule for school grounds is in effect now.

Reference: Governor Celebrates Ban on Flavored Cigarettes, Maine Governor John E. Baldacci, Governor''s Office, 9/25/2009; MAINE PROHIBITS SALE OF FLAVORED TOBACCO, Juvenile Justice Digest - BNET, 9/28/07.

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