History: How We Came to Be
Formed in February of 2002 as an outgrowth of collaboration between the University of Southern Maine, Healthy Maine Partnerships, Communities Promoting Health, and Healthy Portland, the Network was created with the intent to unify and support individual Maine campus efforts for adopting stronger tobacco policies and reducing tobacco use on campuses.
The initial meeting was attended by six schools in the southern Maine region and directors of five Healthy Maine Partnerships. Connecting campuses with the affiliated Healthy Maine Partnership was the beginning of a campus-community partnership.
Recognizing the need to expand beyond Southern Maine and to include other organizational representatives to join our efforts, we recruited the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association of Maine, Partnership For A Tobacco-Free Maine/Bureau of Health, Maine Coalition on Smoking or Health, the Maine College Health Association, and the Maine Association of Student Affairs Practitioners.
Our effort to broaden the network was met with overwhelming enthusiasm and energy. The Maine Tobacco-Free College Network was underway with a dedicated group of individuals who brought a wide range of expertise, experience, and resources.
Where We Hope to Go
- Increase data collection regarding tobacco use on college campuses in Maine.
- Address the needs of disparate populations and non-traditional students.
- Improve access to cessation services on campuses using best practice models.
- Create a strong voice for strengthened campus tobacco policies and advocate for individual campuses as they move along the continuum of tobacco prevention and control.
- Ensure all students, staff and visitors of Maine’s college communities are provided with safe, healthy environments where they are free from involuntary exposure to smoke and tobacco use.
Twenty-three colleges in Maine have been honored for their demonstrated leadership in adopting tobacco control policies that protect the health of students, faculty, and staff.
Working closely with the American Cancer Society’s Smoke-Free New England Initiative, we successfully planned and hosted a full-day summit held in November 2002. Administrators, staff, students, and state leaders had an opportunity to discuss tobacco use, secondhand smoke, cigarette litter, and fire safety issues on Maine campuses. The event was well attended and included representatives from a majority of Maine colleges and universities.
A follow-up survey was created and sent to all schools that participated in the summit to determine the current status of tobacco policies, cessation services, how policies are enforced, the primary goals for the year and how the network might assist in meeting this goal. The results are currently being tabulated.
A strategic planning meeting was held in which short-term and long-term goals were discussed. The group renewed its commitment to address challenges, utilize strengths, and continue to define its purpose.
In 2009, with funding from the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, through the Partnership For A Tobacco-Free Maine, the Network was re-engaged as part of the Breathe Easy Coalition of Maine, an umbrella of the Smoke-Free Housing Coalition of Maine, the Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network and the Maine Tobacco-Free College Network. The Breathe Easy Coalition of Maine’s mission is to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke through the promotion of strong voluntary policies that lead to reduced tobacco use and tobacco-free living throughout Maine, working towards a State where all can live free from involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke.
Partners of the Maine Tobacco-Free College Network include:
American Cancer Society
American Lung Association of Maine
Breathe Easy Coalition of Maine
Healthy Maine Partnerships
Health Policy Partners of Maine
Partnership For A Tobacco-Free Maine
Public and Private Universities and Colleges
Maine Tobacco Free College Network
389 Congress St, Room 307
Portland, ME 04101
Learn more about the Breathe Easy Coalition of Maine, the umbrella organization that includes the Maine Tobacco-Free College Network, at www.BreatheEasyMaine.org.