LEWISTON — Healthy Androscoggin has announced it has received a $94,800 Maine Cancer Foundation Grant — Preventing Youth Smoking Through Community Education: The Tobacco 21 law.

Through this grant, Healthy Androscoggin will create a mass-reach health communication intervention that provides information to the community at large about the Tobacco 21 law and how it prevents youth initiation. With the assistance of a contracted marketing company, HA will combine information about why the law is important and include links to cessation resources, such as the Maine Tobacco Helpline and Quitlink.

“We know that tobacco use starts and established primarily during adolescence. Nearly nine out of 10 cigarette smokers first tried smoking by age 18. Our proposed work will include prevention activities, education, and cessation support — all components of an evidence-based, comprehensive tobacco plan,” said Emily Dooling Hamilton, health promotion coordinator at Healthy Androscoggin.

Preventing tobacco use among youth is critical to ending the tobacco epidemic in the United States. The 2017 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey found 3.4 percent of Androscoggin County middle school students and 11.8 percent of Androscoggin County high school students said they used tobacco products in the past 30 days. This includes cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, snus, dip and dissolvable tobacco products. The survey excluded electronic products. Each day in the United States, more than 3,200 youth aged 18 years or younger smoke their first cigarette. Every day an additional 2,100 youth and young adults become daily cigarette smokers.

To learn more about Maine Cancer Foundation, visit www.mainecancer.com or contact Kristen Smith at [email protected] or by phone at 207-773-2533.