To the Editor:
This past week, the American Lung Association released its annual report card. This report has received significant attention across the state.
The annual national report draws on a variety of federal and state data, including the Maine Youth Behavioral Risk Survey, a behavior questionnaire distributed every other year to public school students in grades nine through 12.
Highlighted in this report are the self-reported rates of smoking in Maine adolescents and teens. These rates rose from 14 percent to more than 18 percent, which is the first increase since 1997, when the rate was more than 39 percent.
This report has drawn attention to a price increase in tobacco products. As some may agree, taxation is just one ingredient in a recipe for behavioral and cultural change. Community wide education and promotion of healthier behaviors should also be in the mix.
I am optimistic that we can, as a community, continue to rally around prevention behaviors. There are significant prevention activities taking place in our Lincoln County communities; tobacco free workplaces, dining, recreation sites and fields, municipal offices and peer to peer education in our schools.
If we continue to invest time in prevention and education I believe we will see adolescent and teen smoking rates once again decline.
Healthy Lincoln County