Breaking News
More () »

South Portland could become fourth Maine city to ban flavored tobacco sales

If passed, the city would join Portland, Bangor, and Brunswick in banning the sale of the products, including vapes and e-cigarettes.

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — The City of South Portland is considering a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products again.

City councilors and citizens talked for hours in a workshop Tuesday evening. 

Many voiced their support for the ban citing concerns about the negative health impacts of youth vaping and e-cigarette use. 

Thirty-one percent of Maine students say they've used a vape, according to the latest Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey in 2021. That's more than 16,000 of kids surveyed. 

The workshop comes after a proposed ban was first considered by the city council in 2019, but was never enacted because of anticipated nationwide action by the Food and Drug Administration.

Three years later, South Portland's latest proposal seeks to fine businesses $500 for a first offense and up to $2,500 for a third violation.

"We have to make a choice," resident Tara Pelletier said. "It comes from the school and our educators. It comes from our community and business leaders. This is not normal. This is not normal for children."

While parents said the city should stand up in the name of protecting kids, others said state lawmakers should step in and pass legislation.  

Businesses and advocates said the move would not be fair to responsible adults.

"There are a lot of shop owners around here. They are the ones doing the point of sale and they're also the ones approving which products they get and have in their shop," Owen Casas with the Maine Vapers Association said. "I've never ran across anyone who says, 'Yeah. Let's get kids hooked on this stuff.'"

A final decision is not expected for months. Councilors said they hope to have a first reading on a proposed ordinance in early December.

If the measure passes, South Portland would join Portland, Brunswick, and Bangor in banning the sale of flavored tobacco products.

More NEWS CENTER Maine stories

For the latest breaking news, weather, and traffic alerts, download the NEWS CENTER Maine mobile app.

Before You Leave, Check This Out