Every year 3,300 Maine kids become regular smokers - ONE OUT OF THREE WILL DIE EARLY AS A RESULT. Over 2,100 Maine people die each year from tobacco use - nearly SIX DEATHS PER DAY from smoking-related disease. In Maine alone the tobacco industry spends $62 million dollars per year to promote their products.
The tobacco industry need our young people to be “replacement smokers”. The American Cancer Society and many youth groups around the state of Maine held a press conference last Thursday at the Hall of Flags in the State House. Students from around the state talked to lawmakers at the State House to gain awareness of their mission. Amelia and Jonah spoke with Governor Baldacci and Senator Paul Davis.
Amelia Butman, and Jonah Lizotte, co-founders of the MOØSE (Mentors Offering Anti-Smoking Education) Group that is supported by the Piscataquis Public Health Council, attended the press conference. Jonah led the press conference off on how he has been “touched by tobacco”, his grandfather died of smoke-related cancer. Amelia spoke on how she has touched other young adults about smoking. Students from around the state also spoke on how they were “touched by tobacco”.
By raising the price by $1.50 per pack this would save the lives of 6,600 young people and another 3,300 adults. When faced with higher prices, young people who haven’t started smoking will be less likely to start; young people who already smoke will be more motivated to quit. As a young person they will face do I want to buy a pack of cigarettes or buy that new CD, see the new hit movie or other good choices. This is one way to keep young people from smoking if the lawmakers would consider raising the price of cigarettes. Lawmakers have helped in many ways of helping reduce the ways young people can get cigarettes. One way was in passing Maine laws making it almost impossible for kids to buy cigarettes over the internet.
The Piscataquis Public Health Council is one of 31 local Healthy Maine Partnerships, working on tobacco prevention and control, physical activity and nutrition, using tobacco settlement funds provided through the Fund for a Healthy Maine.
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