The Partnership For A Tobacco-Free Maine (PTM) is the Maine State Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. The PTM was originally developed as a result of the tobacco excise tax legislation passed in 1997. In November 1998, Maine, along with 45 other states across the country, sued the tobacco industry for the recovery of the state’s Medicaid healthcare costs attributed to tobacco use. As a result of the Master Settlement Agreement, the industry committed to paying the states approximately $206 billion for the first 25 years of the agreement. Payments must be made as long as the settling companies sell cigarettes in the United States. Of that total, it is estimated that Maine will receive approximately $50 million per year.
Through the Fund for a Healthy Maine, the 119th Maine State Legislature dedicated all of the state tobacco settlement funds to health programs. A significant portion of those funds has been allocated specifically to the PTM to develop and implement statewide tobacco prevention, control, and treatment programs.
The PTM, a comprehensive program, also receives funding from a cooperative agreement with the CDC and is designed to reflect the CDC’s Best Practice Guidelines for Statewide Tobacco Prevention and Control Programs.
The mission of the PTM is to reduce death and disability due to tobacco use among Maine citizens by creating an environment that is supportive of a tobacco-free life.
The statewide program, which focuses its efforts primarily on population-based strategies and policy and environmental change, has four primary goals:
When PTM began in 1997, nearly 30% of Maine adults smoked; by 2005, that number was down to 21%. The rate among high school students plunged nearly 60% in the same period to an all-time low of 16.2%.
The American Lung Association (ALA), the leading organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health in the country, announced their first State of Tobacco Control Report Card in 2005. The report card was created in order to show the most significant progress in the area of smoke-free air among the states. When ALA first released the report card there were only two states that had smoke-free public places and workplaces including restaurants and bars – California and Delaware. From 2002 to 2005, seven more states became smoke-free, including Maine. In 2005, Maine became the first state to receive an “A” in each of the four categories: tobacco prevention spending, cigarette tax, smoke-free air and youth access. Maine received four "A's" again in 2006.
There is still much work to be done. Tobacco remains a problem across all geographic regions and social strata. As part of its mission, the goals of the PTM include progress with low income/education segments, pregnant women who smoke, straight-to-work young adults from 18 to 24, ethnic minorities, people with mental health and substance abuse issues, and other vulnerable populations.
Read more about how PTM has made a difference over the years.