House takes up veto of tobacco-related illness prevention bill

By Elizabeth Dickerson | Jan 16, 2014

Augusta, Maine — Maine Legislature

House Democratic Office

For Immediate Release

Jan. 16, 2014

Contact: Ann Kim [Sanborn], 287-1430, cell: 233-1838

House takes up veto of tobacco-related illness prevention bill

By reducing barriers to tobacco cessation treatment, the bill would save state money in the long run


AUGUSTA – The House is expected on Thursday to take up the veto of a bill that would make it easier for Mainers to quit smoking and lead healthier lives.


LD 386, An Act to Reduce Tobacco-related Illness and Lower Health Care Costs in MaineCare, would eliminate barriers to treatment by requiring coverage of copayments and other costs related to tobacco cessation treatment under MaineCare. The bill also directs the Department of Health and Human Services to pursue opportunities for federal reimbursement of those costs.


The bill applies to women who are pregnant and individuals who are at least 18 years old.


"This bill's approach makes scientific and financial sense," said Rep. Linda Sanborn, D-Gorham, the measure's sponsor and a retired doctor. "The scientific evidence tells us that providing access to these tools without barriers is the most effective way to help people quit smoking.”


According to a report by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 42 percent of MaineCare members are smokers and 67 percent of those smokers report wanting to quit. At the same time, Maine taxpayers pay roughly $216 million annually to cover treatment of tobacco-related illnesses.


“By opening up access to treatment of tobacco addiction, we can save taxpayer money and lives,” said Sanborn. “I hope we can continue to count on the support of our Republican colleagues."


The bill received the support of seven prominent health organizations in addition to multiple health care officials in the industry. No one testified against the bill.


The bill won unanimous support in the Health and Human Services committee and all but one representative voted in favor of the measure. It was passed unanimously “under the hammer” in the Senate.

Comments (2)
Posted by: William Spear | Jan 16, 2014 12:11

I quit smoking in 1972. At the age of 21. For 6 years, I was cool. I loved to smoke. But quitting was the easiest thing in my life to do. I STOPPED buying cigarettes, I STOPPED flicking that Zippo lighter, I STOPPED inhaling that poison into my lungs. Pretty simple actually. If you want to quit, it's that easy. Every reason people come up with of why they can't quit smoking is just another excuse. If you want to quit, quit. Simple.  My healthy life tells me I did the right thing.

Posted by: Elizabeth Dickerson | Jan 16, 2014 10:39

Wish us luck, folks: tobacco-related illness and death is a tragedy that costs money and that we can prevent! We're voting soon!!!!!

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