Children exposed to secondhand smoke take nicotine and other chemicals into their bodies just like smokers. No amount of secondhand smoke is considered safe. Yet, in Maine, 41% of middle school youth, and 53% of high school youth report they have been in the same room with someone smoking anytime in the past week.
“Breathe Easy, You’re in Maine” is a Clean Indoor Air Campaign that serves both as a celebration and a reminder that all indoor public places in Maine are free from secondhand smoke. As part of the Breathe Easy campaign, signs, flyers and posters have been placed in public places where people can enjoy the clean air, such as train stations, airports, Maine Information and Visitor Centers, and television, radio and newspaper messages have been run statewide.
As a result of Breathe Easy, progress in the area of secondhand smoke has been made:
Communities have been the key to our successes around the state on the issue of secondhand smoke, and continued strong action is the key to ongoing success in saving lives, reducing our health costs, and ultimately improving lives for everyone in Maine. Making resources available to help create and implement policies and programs in local areas is integral to this success.
25% of people in Maine say they are exposed to some secondhand smoke at work. Maine’s Good Work! program helps employers make their workplaces 100% tobacco-free, and that helps us with our mission of creating safer and more productive workplaces in the state.
Employers who participate in the Good Work! program receive support for creating and maintaining a workplace policy that takes Maine law one step further in protecting their employees from secondhand smoke. By taking a look at how Loring Job Corp developed and executed these efforts, other communities may be able to see similar successes.
Find information and resources at our Workplaces page.
The Maine Tobacco-Free College Network helps to support a tobacco-free lifestyle for the benefit of students, faculty, staff and visitors at college campuses around the state in an effort to counter the high rates of tobacco use among college students. Visit Maine Tobacco-Free College Network.
The Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network is part of Maine’s effort to help Maine hospitals develop comprehensive tobacco policies. MTFHN aims to create and award Gold Star Standards of Excellence to encourage more hospitals to adopt smoke-free policies, as well as provide ongoing technical assistance to the hospitals around the state. Read more about the MTFHN initiative.
Smoke-Free Housing Coaltion of Maine helps landlords make informed decisions about establishing smoke free policies for their properties, and helps them understand their rights, responsibilities and risks as a property owner. It also helps renters understand their rights to live smoke-free. Visit Smoke-Free For ME for more information.
Messages of prevention must come from many different messengers and from sources that youth respect and whose behavior they want to emulate. The Tobacco-Free Athletes (TFA) Initiative was created to promote and support tobacco-free living for youth participating in all recreational and public school sports programs in Maine. The program leverages a coach’s influence on players to counter the messages that the tobacco industry aims at young people. Communities must continue to promote TFA to new schools and new coaches to keep prevention awareness high and tobacco-free messages enduring. Go to the Tobacco-Free Athletes page.
There are compelling conclusions from the U.S. Surgeon General about the dangers of secondhand smoke, and strong evidence for enforcing a smoke-free home. Read U.S. Surgeon General’s Report.
Exposure to secondhand smoke causes disease and death in children and adults. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are in danger of increased risks for respiratory symptoms and adverse effects on the cardiovascular system.
Support for eliminating exposure has grown: Maine residents are concerned about secondhand smoke, according to a recent market study, an important finding in the effectiveness of communicating prevention efforts.