Cumberland rep supports tobacco cessation bill

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CUMBERLAND — State Rep. Steve Moriarty, D-Cumberland, a former town councilor who was elected last November in House District 108, is among sponsors of a bill aimed at reducing tobacco use among MaineCare recipients.

Rep. Linda Sanborn, D-Gorham, is the bill’s primary sponsor, while Moriarty and several others are co-sponsors, Moriarty said on Monday.

Tobacco use constitutes 10.6 percent of MaineCare expenditures, or $216 million, according to a Feb. 12 House Democratic Office press release. The bill proposes that MaineCare recipients at least 18 years old be able to access smoking cessation resources.

Under the draft legislation, those resources would include counseling and medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat tobacco dependence.

“I think it’s an investment that will pay off in the long run, by encouraging people and enabling people to stop using tobacco, and therefore avoid health complications and the costs that go hand in hand with treating those,” Moriarty said.

He added that “by investing up front, the hope is that you can decrease the expenditure down the road.”

The Health and Human Services Committee is planning a public hearing on the bill, although Moriarty said he did not know if a date has been set.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.