Maine is failing to invest in helping smokers quit and preventing kids from picking up the habit, according to a new report released today.
Still, Maine outperforms many other states, the American Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control 2014″ report found.
The annual report, now in its 12th year, tracks tobacco control policies, assigning grades to the country and each state based on whether laws are “adequately protecting citizens from the enormous toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy,” according to a Wednesday press release announcing the report.
“Maine’s report card on tobacco control is not one any parent will be proudly hanging on their refrigerator,” Matt Sturgis, leadership board chair for the American Lung Association in Maine, said in the release. “Just eight short years ago, Maine was the only state in the nation to receive straight A’s. Since that time, our state is continuously failing to invest in vital resources that help keep kids from starting to smoke and provide smokers with the tools they so desperately need to quit. Meanwhile, Big Tobacco continues to rob Mainers of their health and employ clever tactics to lure new youth smokers.”
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The report’s publication follows last week’s release of the 2014 U.S. Surgeon General’s report, which added to the list of health problems associated with tobacco use on the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s report that linked smoking to lung cancer, heart disease and other deadly illnesses. The new Surgeon General’s report warns that 5.6 million of today’s youth will die from tobacco use without stronger action to combat smoking.
- expanding funding for state tobacco prevention and cessation programs
- increasing the cigarette tax by at least $1
- providing comprehensive cessation benefit coverage to all Mainers
- taxing all tobacco products at equal rates