Addressing Disparities in Tobacco Use and Exposure through Policy and Environmental Change

The Breathe Easy Coalition, a program of the City of Portland Public Health Division, is a statewide umbrella Coalition of the Smoke-Free Housing Coalition of Maine, Maine Tobacco-Free College Network, Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network and the Maine Tobacco-Free Behavioral Health Network. The Coalition works to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke through the promotion of strong voluntary policies that lead to reduced tobacco use and increased tobacco-free living; this is done through resources and technical assistance provided to aid policy change.

The City of Portland Public Health Division through its programs, the Breathe Easy Coalition of Maine (BEC) and Healthy Portland (HP), the local Healthy Maine Partnership, will address tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke through evidence-based policy change geared to populations that are disproportionately impacted by tobacco. Through programming, collaboration, material development and technical assistance, this initiative will partner with the local City of Portland General Assistance Program’s housing rental voucher program, MaineHousing’s Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section 8) and post-secondary technical and career (example, vocational) schools to increase smoke and tobacco-free policies in these locations. Cigarette smoking is significantly higher for persons living below the poverty level and those with less education completed, the highest rate being those who have obtained their GED. Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States and accounts for nearly a third of all cancer-related deaths.

Smoke and tobacco-free policies are proven tools to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, a toxic mixture of more than 7,000 chemicals including at least 69 known to cause cancer in humans, and to encourage tobacco-free lifestyles. Implementing such policies in environments frequented by populations who have high tobacco use rates is a critical step in reducing tobacco disparities and tobacco related cancer incidence. This initiative will build off years of the experience held by BEC and HP to address tobacco through successful evidence-based policy and environmental change in multi-unit housing and colleges and universities.

Organization: 
Breathe Easy Coalition of Maine
Grant Amount Given: 
$74,101
Year Issued: 
2015
Period: 
Annual
Grant Category: 
Prevention
Types of Cancer: 
All
Lung

Maine Cancer Foundation Grants to this Organization:

Year Program Amount Category Organization
2015 Reducing Tobacco-Related Cancer Prevalence through College and University Policy Change $39,140 Prevention Breathe Easy Coalition of Maine
2015 Addressing Disparities in Tobacco Use and Exposure through Policy and Environmental Change $74,101 Prevention Breathe Easy Coalition of Maine