Intervention Aroostook: 5.10.2022
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -Despite Maine now moving into a regular recreational marijuana law state, some health organizations say they’ll continually push for anti-marijuana and flavored tobacco usage, especially among young people. Shawn Cunningham reports in this week’s Intervention Aroostook.
00:00 (Open SOT: “the tobacco industry spends tens of millions of dollars marketing their deadly products here alone in the state of Maine.”
And its that assertion why the American Cancer Society of Maine have ramped up their efforts to do more education and awareness about the dangers of tobacco particularly among youth and the adverse impact it can have on overall health. In late January, the American Lung Association released its annual State of Tobacco Report looking at tobacco use in Maine.
Maine earned a Grade A in two areas...
-Strength of Smoke free Workplace Laws – Grade A
-Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade A
But the state earned two grade C’s and F in ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products
-Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade C
-Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade C
Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products - Grade F
ACS Spokesperson Hillary Schneider says the fight against tobacco in Maine, especially flavored tobacco products is a David versus Goliath war. And businesses in the state that sell tobacco are worried about the messaging that tobacco usage equates to chronic health conditions down the road. That messaging is bad for business...
“businesses who profit off of selling tobacco products and they don’t want to see this happen because they know its gonna have an impact because we know that 4 out of 5 kids who use a tobacco product start with a flavored product.”
But she says not all businesses have taken that stance. In fact she says many chambers of commerce throughout the state have joined the fight to urge state lawmakers to legislate a tougher crackdown on flavored tobacco products.
“because they know that the toll of tobacco on businesses in Maine is big.”
Another hurdle is the fact that Maine has legalized recreational marijuana. She says there is a statistical correlation between using flavored tobacco products and marijuana.
“electronic smoking devices are used for both tobacco and marijuana and are overlapped in our defintiion and the reason why we’re working on flavored tobacco products is because we have the evidence to support that flavors are a makreting weapon that the industry uses to hook kids.”
ACS officials say the state hadn’t raised its tobacco tax in 17 years, and that is one move to help prevent younger Mainers from starting to use tobacco products and help adults attempt to quit. Shawn Cunningham, NS 8.
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