In 2021, the Bangor City Council voted 7-1 to ban flavoured tobacco products (including non-tobacco-containing vaping products), making Bangor the first city in Maine to ban the sale and marketing of all flavoured tobacco products. The ordinance goes into effect on June 1, 2022.
Portland seems set to follow suit. Portland City Councilor Tae Chong leads the council’s Health & Human Services and Public Safety Committee, which last November voted 3-0 to forward the proposed ban to the full council. If the council votes in favour of the ban it will probably go into effect in June. “It’s kind of a no-brainer,” Chong said. “It’s happening across the country.”
Flavour bans push former smokers back to cigarettes
Meanwhile, a study looking into San Francisco’s flavour ban reported alarming findings. Titled, “The Impact of a Comprehensive Tobacco Flavour Ban in San Francisco Among Young Adults,” the current study was conducted with the aim of determining the impact of the flavour ban set in the city, on tobacco use behavior. A sample of 247 San Francisco residents were surveyed about their e-cigarette and tobacco use, before and after the flavour ban.
The study found that while the ban did lead to a decline in vapes and cigars’ sales, it sadly also caused a spike in smoking rates. Additionally, the researchers found that the measure was not enforced properly and 65% of participants reported being able to obtain flavoured products in multiple ways.
“These findings suggest that comprehensive local flavor bans, by themselves, cannot sharply reduce the availability or use of flavored tobacco products among residents. Nevertheless, local bans can still significantly reduce overall e-cigarette use and cigar smoking but may increase cigarette smoking,” concluded the study.