Health Index Priority: Decrease Tobacco Use

MaineHealth is expanding access to effective programs and therapies for helping tobacco users become tobacco-free, and partnering with community organizations to prevent youth from ever using tobacco.

Why does MaineHealth focus on decreasing tobacco use?

  • Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death.
  • Over 17% of adults in Maine are smokers.
  • The incidence of tobacco related cancers in Maine is significantly higher than the U.S. rate.
  • Smoking causes heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, 10 types of cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Taking Action

We support a variety of clinical, community and policy actions to help decrease tobacco use throughout the MaineHealth service area. Here are some of the ways that MaineHealth and our partners are responding:

Tracking Progress

The Health Index initiative tracks and monitors a variety of data sources to measure progress being made to decrease tobacco use. In 2016, MaineHealth leaders set bold, aggressive targets for two of these measures as a way to challenge MaineHealth organizations to continue achieving positive steps toward the MaineHealth vision.

Short-term measure and target:

  • Between October 1, 2017 and September 30, 2018, 4,000 adults with tobacco dependence will be proactively referred to the Maine Tobacco HelpLine by providers in MaineHealth member-owned practices.

 

Long-term measure and target:

  • By 2020, 14% or less of adults in the MaineHealth service area will smoke cigarettes daily or some days.

 

Provider Referrals to the Maine Tobacco HelpLine (Short-term measure and target)

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MaineHealth providers have significantly increased referrals to the Maine Tobacco HelpLine.  In the 4th quarter in FY2018, 976 referrals were received, hovering just below the target of 1000.   

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Cigarette Use Among Adults (Long-term measure and target)

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Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.  The smoking rate in Maine went down from 19.8% to 17.3% between 2016 and 2017. 

Adult Prevalence: A Closer Look

Overall, 19.5% of adults in Maine smoke every day or some days.  However, this rate varies from a high of 25.4% in Aroostook county to a low of 13.5% in Cumberland.

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Smoking Prevalence and Quitting: How Maine Compares

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