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It’s time to end the flavor trap and stop Big Tobacco from targeting Missoula kids with flavored e-cigarettes, cigarillos, hookah, chew and other products.

As Missoula physicians who treat local children, we believe the industry already has had too much lead-time in enticing youth with its deadly products and creating a new generation of users. We need to act now.

After hearing the call for action from dozens of community members, our local hospital boards and local health professionals, we are excited that the Missoula City Council has introduced an ordinance to restrict the sale of all flavored tobacco products in our community. This action should be supported by all who care about Missoula kids and their healthy future.

We are shocked by the statistics that show frequent use of e-cigarettes by Montana youth increased by 263 percent between 2017 and 2019. Sweet-flavored, high-nicotine products such as JUUL fueled this astronomical increase, eroding decades of progress in reducing underage use of tobacco.

The use of sweet flavors—menthol, cherry, bubblegum, root beer float, strawberry and more—to entice kids into addiction is nothing new. Studies from the mid 1990s unveiled a “graduation strategy” used by the tobacco industry to entice
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