Mills Budget to Propose Tobacco Control Program Funding Cuts; Nation’s Leading Cancer Advocacy Organization Reacts
Lawmakers must reject cuts, fund tobacco control programs at CDC recommended levels to save lives and protect future generations of Mainers
AUGUSTA – Later today, Gov. Janet Mills will deliver her State of the Budget address. Mills’ Biennial budget proposal includes a reduction in funding of $5 million per year in each year of the biennium for the state’s tobacco control program, a more than 30% cut from FY21 funding. The following statement can be attributed to Hilary Schneider, Maine director of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in Maine.
“As our battle with COVID-19 continues, we must do everything in our power to keep our communities healthy and safe—which means building strong public health infrastructure including comprehensive tobacco control measures. We know one of the best ways to reduce the impact of smoking related death and disease is through a well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation program.
“People who smoke or who used to smoke are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Funding Maine’s tobacco control program at the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended level of $15.9 million is crucial to prevent kids from starting to use tobacco and to help people already addicted to tobacco to quit.
“Maine's ongoing addiction to tobacco is demonstrated by both youth and adult smoking rates, which are higher than the national averages. In recent years, overall youth tobacco use in Maine has skyrocketed, largely driven by the youth e-cigarette use epidemic. One in 2 Maine high school students and 1 in 6 middle school students have used e-cigarettes. Lawmakers can positively impact these numbers by ensuring full funding of the state’s tobacco prevention and cessation program.
“Any move to cut Maine’s already underfunded tobacco program is shortsighted, dangerous and certain to move us backward. As Big Tobacco continues to target Maine’s youth, our elected officials have a duty to protect our kids from becoming addicted to this deadly product, and help current smokers quit. We urge Maine lawmakers to take action to protect the health of Mainers by funding the state tobacco prevention and treatment program at the US CDC recommended level of $15.9 million/year in the biennial budget.”
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org. ...