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In 1998 a settlement between the tobacco industry and 46 states helped create the Fund for a Healthy Maine. During the 125th Legislature, cuts for this program of $11 million were part of the supplemental budget. Part of these cuts included $2.7 million to fund prevention programs in schools. These funds are not taxpayer dollars, but money set aside for the health of Mainers. With $1 spent toward prevention it will save $9 in future health-care costs. Non-cigarette tobacco products like cigars and chewing tobacco are relatively cheap compared to cigarettes. More children tend to buy these products because of the cheaper costs. These products are not taxed like cigarettes, but maybe it is time that they are. Money from these taxes could help fund programs to curb tobacco use of all kinds.
The Fund for a Healthy Maine and Maine Health Partnerships should not be another typical government bureaucracy where most of the money goes to political appointees rather than to the cause.
John J. Bouchard
House District 63 Republican candidate