Cailey Locklair - MDRA OP-Ed

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The Maryland Retailers Association supports the firm stance Governor Hogan and the Maryland legislature took against selling Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, or “ENDS,” to minors. Maryland retailers provide adult smokers access to healthier and safer alternatives to cigarettes, and these products were never intended to encourage teen smoking. We believe ENDS products should not be marketed towards children, and will continue to fight for common sense measures against this practice.

However, we cannot support Food and Drug Administration Acting Commissioner Sharpless's proposed regulations that would effectively end the sale of e- cigarette products in convenience stores and service stations in the state. Denying adults access to e-cigarette products would not help Marylanders. In fact, denying access to healthier alternatives to smoking would only encourage Marylanders to continue consuming combustible tobacco products.

Moreover, the retail industry already goes to great lengths to keep teens from smoking. Just as we require identification to purchase tobacco products, we require purchasers of e-cigarette products to provide state-issued identification. If they are not of age, they cannot buy the product. And it is already illegal to sell vaping products to anyone under the age of 18 in the State of Maryland.

This proposal by President Trump’s administration would not only hurt smokers seeking healthier alternatives to tobacco products, it would also hurt our economy. Sales of e-cigarette products play a vital role in the marketplace and enables Maryland retailers to employ more Marylanders. Ending the sale of

these products in thriving Maryland retail locations would encourage consumers to instead buy them online, which would hurt Maryland businesses, impact the number of jobs available, and reduce the tax revenue brought in by our state.

We hope that Acting Commissioner Sharpless will re-consider this position, and encourage our fellow Marylanders to ask our elected officials to take a stand against misguided proposals like this one. It’s not too late for the Trump administration to change course – and for the health and well-being of Maryland’s voters, we hope they do.

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Contact: Cailey Locklair Tolle Phone: 317-397-1918

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