Maine 2024 Legislative Priorities

Victory in the fight against cancer requires bold new public policies that promote cancer prevention, early detection of cancer, and expand access to quality, affordable health care. Lawmakers make many decisions that impact the lives of Mainers impacted by cancer and their leadership is vital to defeating this disease. In 2024 the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) will work with the Maine Legislature on legislative and regulatory efforts to ensure adequate appropriations funding for lifesaving cancer screening programs and enact prevention policies that help people who use tobacco products quit and deter kids from ever using tobacco products. We will be making the following fact-based policies a priority and ask for your support:

Ensuring Access to Quality Care 

  • Access to Biomarker Testing: ACS CAN will advocate for improved coverage of comprehensive biomarker testing. Progress in improving cancer outcomes increasingly involves the use of precision medicine, which uses information about a person’s own genes or proteins to prevent, diagnose or treat diseases like cancer. Biomarker testing is an important step to accessing precision medicine which includes targeted therapies that can lead to improved survivorship and better quality of life for cancer patients, but insurance coverage for biomarker testing is failing to keep pace with innovations and advancements in treatment.

  • Palliative Care: ACS CAN will work to improve cancer patients’ quality of life by supporting the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council’s ongoing efforts to identify barriers to the availability of coordinated, supportive care during treatment from the beginning of diagnosis for serious diseases such as cancer.

Reducing the Toll of Tobacco

  • Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Funding: ACS CAN will work to protect funding for fact-based, statewide tobacco prevention and cessation programs at $15.9 million annually, which is equivalent to the amount recommended for the state by the US CDC. The funding for this program comes largely from revenues from the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) payments, which go into the Fund for a Healthy Maine. The other source of state funding for this program is a portion of the revenue the state collects from excise taxes on non-cigarette tobacco products.

  • End the Sale of Menthol Cigarettes and All Other Flavored Tobacco Products: ACS CAN will work with partners to advocate in support of legislation to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products without exception. Flavored tobacco is a known tobacco industry strategy used to attract new users, especially youth. More than 8 in 10 teens that have used tobacco products started with a flavored product. Use of flavored tobacco products to attract new users is not limited to youth but also communities that Big Tobacco has targeted, including African American and LGBTQ communities. As a result of industry targeting, both communities use menthol cigarettes at disproportionately high levels. To prevent youth and young adults from using tobacco products, help people quit and reduce tobacco-related health disparities, ACS CAN will advocate in support of ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products including but not limited to menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars, e-cigarettes, shisha, and smokeless tobacco).

  • Smoke-free Work-/Public-Places: ACS CAN will work to defend the statewide smoke-free workplaces and public places laws and oppose any exceptions to the laws.

Local Control

  • Preserving Local Control: Local governments are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of the people in their communities. ACS CAN supports their ability to pass laws that are proven to promote good health, well-being, and equality. Preserving local control is needed to pass innovative and proactive public health policies. ACS CAN works at the local, state, and federal levels; thus, it supports each level of government’s ability to implement policies for cleaner, safer, healthier communities. The right of local governments to pass public health policies stronger than state laws must be preserved to continue future advocacy efforts to reduce suffering and death from cancer.


For more information, contact Julia MacDonald, Maine Government Relations Director [email protected] | 207.888.9826