On Friday, December 13th, the administration of Maine Governor Janet T. Mills announced new initiatives to address the youth e-cigarette epidemic that has gripped the nation. The announcement came in the wake of troubling new data showing Maine youth are using electronic smoking devices above the national average.
In response to this report released by the Maine Center for Disease Control, Mills will direct the Maine Tobacco and Substance Use Prevention and Control Program to double down on a public education campaign. In addition, Mills will introduce legislation to prohibit “grandfathered” sales of tobacco products to those under the age of 21.
Chace Jackson, State Government Relations Director for Maine at the American Heart Association, applauded the sense of urgency and seriousness from the Mills Administration: “After years of targeting youth, Big Tobacco has succeeded in addicting a generation of children to nicotine by lying about the dangers of electronic smoking devices. This is evident in the data released by the Maine CDC, who report e-cigarette use nearly doubling among Maine high schoolers since 2017. Governor Mills’ attention to this grave threat is a meaningful step in turning the tide. According to the American Heart Association, 1 in 4 teens are using e-cigarettes.Bold action on banning flavored tobacco products, increasing the tobacco tax, and sustainably funding Maine’s prevention program must come next.”