Reducing Cancer Rates in Maine through Tobacco Education and Policy Development

Project Overview:

MPHA and our tobacco policy committee partners plan to implement a comprehensive tobacco education and advocacy plan. Prevention data demonstrates that the most effective plans to prevent tobacco use are comprehensive and complete in nature and scope. Our plan does just that- we propose to use MCF funds to allow us to capitalize on our coalition expertise, networks, in-kind resources and partnerships across the state. This will maximize our efforts to influence key decision makers/legislators, the general public and the business community in truly understanding the devastating health and financials impacts of tobacco use in Maine and motivate them to implement change. Specific activities to be carried out are as follows:

  • Coordinate and produce monthly tobacco e-news and social marketing efforts such as daily tweets, facebook posts and online events, reaching approximately 400 people daily and 2,000 through our electronic e-newsletters.
  • Coordinate and implement three webinars targeted to legislators, business leaders and other decision makers, reaching approximately 40 people with each effort.
  • Coordinate and implement three webinars targeted to public health professionals, reaching at least 50 people with each effort.
  • Coordinate, produce and mail packet of educational information to all new and returning legislators.
  • Work with existing partners to expand and strengthen tobacco policy committee and develop at least three new legislative tobacco champions.
  • Update and keep current MPHA tobacco website pages to include current information and data.
  • Foster empowerment and leadership of business champions on tobacco issues and advocacy by creating a tobacco business community PowerPoint presentation, train committee members to present PowerPoint and ensure through coordination and resources that it is presented to business partners (such as Chambers of Commerce) across the state at least six times.
  • Finalize and promote three tobacco specific white papers to legislators, general public and public health professionals.
  • Create and distribute three ‘leaders touched by tobacco’ short videos. These videos will feature Maine legislators, business leaders, and Maine celebrities who have been impacted by tobacco in a variety of ways.
  • Gain state-wide press attention at least twice for tobacco policy and education efforts, including leaders touched by tobacco videos.
  • Facilitate a media/marketing contract to produce top quality products and services that are framed and packaged in appealing ways that will attract more media attention and engage business leaders and legislators.

The Challenge:

Tobacco use remains the single most preventable cause of disease, disability and premature death in the United States, accounting for more than 30% of all cancer deaths and 480,000 deaths each year in the US. In addition, tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, 70 of which are known to cause, initiate or promote cancer. Smoking has negative health impacts on people of all stages of life and not only impacts the smoker themselves, but also the people they come into contact with through secondhand and thirdhand smoke. Smoking is responsible for 87% of the 160,000 lung cancers in the US and is the leading cause of lung cancer death. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Maine for both men and women. Smoking also causes cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, stomach, cervix, kidney, pancreas, bladder, colon and acute myeloid leukemia, among others. In addition, due to product changes over time, today’s smokers have a higher risk of lung cancer than smokers 50 years ago.

Project Benefits:

In the short term, we will educate and engage decision makers, the business community, general public and public health professionals on policies and best practice strategies that are proven to reduce tobacco use. We will work to engage a broader, more diverse set of stakeholders in tobacco prevention and control efforts and create an environment conducive to passing evidence-based policies proven to reduce tobacco use and initiation.

The longer term goals of this project will be to pass evidence-based policies that will reduce the number of Mainers who use tobacco products, thereby reducing tobacco-attributed cancer deaths in Maine. We will do this by educating and engaging decision makers, the business community, general public and public health professionals on policies and best practice strategies that are proven to reduce tobacco use.

Maine Public Health Association
Grant Amount Given: 
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Types of Cancer: 

Maine Cancer Foundation Grants to this Organization:

Year Program Amount Category Organization
2017 MPHA Tobacco Coalition for Cancer Prevention $10,000 Prevention Maine Public Health Association
2015 Reducing Cancer Rates in Maine through Tobacco Education and Policy Development $50,000 Education Maine Public Health Association
2013 Investing In Maine's Future through Public Health, Education and Advocacy $25,000 Prevention Maine Public Health Association