Maine, with region’s highest smoking rate, funds cessation

April 26, 2022 GMT

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine is increasing funding for smoking cessation programs as the state tries to shed the distinction as having the highest rate of smoking in New England.

Almost 18% of adults in Maine use cigarettes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Maine Legislature enacted legislation on Monday to increase funding for cessation and prevention and treatment programs to $15.9 million.

That’s the amount recommended by the U.S. CDC. Lawmakers said the proposal includes $7.5 million in new funding.

Democratic Rep. Kristen Cloutier of Lewiston said the funding is especially important now because “the correlation between the COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in tobacco use has created an emergency situation whereby prevention and control are crucial.”