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Addressing Disparities

Helping Those Most at Risk

Identifiable segments of the population are uniquely and unfairly targeted by the millions of dollars spent in Maine by the tobacco industry. Tobacco targeting puts these specific populations at high risk, and does so with deadly ramifications. Mental and physical health, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation can dictate how an individual is affected by tobacco use, tobacco messaging, treatment, and quitting success. The tobacco industry is relentless in taking advantage of these disparities.

PTM assists populations that are at greatest risk for tobacco addiction and are frequent targets of the millions spent by the tobacco industry by working to identify and eliminate these disparities. Communities are central to our mission as we intensify our efforts to reach these specific populations.

"Closing the Gap"

Identifying disparities involves using data and/or other sources to identify groups with significantly higher tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. Eliminating disparities involves ensuring diverse communities’ access to planning and decision-making, capacity and infrastructure building, funding opportunities, services, and comprehensive initiatives to address the disproportional use of tobacco and/or exposure to secondhand smoke.

PTM has identified the following populations as those uniquely vulnerable to the risks of tobacco addiction and tobacco-related disease:

Get more information about Special Populations.

How PTM is Working to Eliminate Disparities

Our work at identifying and eliminating disparities is underway:

And our efforts continue through the following initiatives:

As we work with state and local partners, we are rising to the challenge these groups represent, and communities are essential to our efforts. Promoting messages and programs at a local level for those at special risk is the key to accomplishing our work in prevention.

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The Provider's Role

70% of smokers say they want to quit, but few succeed without help. However, smokers consistently cite a doctor’s advice to quit as an important motivator for attempting to stop smoking.

Health care providers, social services workers and other professionals face the challenges of assisting populations that are disproportionately affected by tobacco use and are at the greatest risk for tobacco addiction, tobacco related disease, and exposure to secondhand smoke. Providers are faced with unique challenges that can include patients or clients who don’t get needed care (as in those with diabetes), those who fail to inform their provider about their smoking status for fear of being “talked down to” (as in those of low socioeconomic status), and those who want provider help, but don’t always get it (as in youth and those with behavioral health concerns).

Provider training enhances confidence and skills in treating tobacco, increases smoker quit attempts, and improves quit outcomes. The Maine Prenatal Collaborative has brought together 19 OB/GYN and Family medicine practices to make improvements in addressing tobacco in pregnancy. Teams came together over nine months for three day-long Learning Sessions focused on tobacco and treatment.

Find more about the provider’s role in treating prevention in special populations at our Providers page.

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