Spring Newsletter
March 2021
Public Health Legislation
Upcoming bills to keep an eye on...
Interested in any of these public health bills?
Reach out to your local legislator - phone calls or letters are preferred!

Find your legislator:

  • LR 1006 – An Act to End the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products
  • LR 1104 – An Act to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use by Providing Adequate Funding and by Raising the Tax on Tobacco Products
  • LR 1388 An Act to Establish the Trust for a Healthy Maine using Tobacco Settlement Funds
  • LD 269: An Act To Prohibit Smoking in Bus Shelters 

We're watching these new and upcoming bills closely - they have potential to have a major impact on our work here at HCCA.

Learn more about these issues in this guide from the Maine Public Health Association.

Update! LD 2 – An Act To Require the Inclusion of Racial Impact Statements in the Legislative Process, passed on March 12. We're excited to see this positive step for equity in Maine.
We're also watching food systems bills tracked by Maine Food Policy Work Group, hosted by MEFTI - sign up for the newsletter to track them too. 

The Maine Food Policy Work Group formed in early 2019 by representatives from Maine Farm to Institution, FoodCorps Maine, Maine Network of Community Food Councils, CEI, and others.

The goal is to monitor Food Policy work, with a key focus on Maine legislation, along with municipal and federal initiatives, in order to inform Maine's food system stakeholders and encourage advocacy for Good Food Policy.

The Work Group is supported by the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation with funds coming through Maine Farm to Institution (MEFTI) at Healthy Communities of the Capital Area.

Learn more about ME food policy initiatives at www.mainefoodpolicy.org.
A Brief History of
Marketing Tobacco Products and the
Impact on Justice and Equity
in Our Communities
Tobacco companies have a long history of tailoring products and advertising to a variety of populations. They even had brands developed and advertised for suffragettes over 100 years ago.

In the 1970s through the 1990s, products and marketing were developed to specifically appeal to and ultimately attract and addict people in specific populations.

  • Promoting menthol products in Black communities and publications, and now through a wide range of social media. 
  • Marketing strategies aimed at LGBTQ+ populations started as Gay Rights efforts were building. One advertisement even compared the right to smoke with the right to marry.
  • Targeted populations are among the groups that now use tobacco at higher rates with more related chronic conditions like lung and heart disease.

Since the 1998 Master Tobacco Settlement restricted smoking promotion to youth, the tobacco companies needed new ways to attract ‘replacement smokers,' an internal industry term.
As a result, e-cigarettes and other vaping devices emerged and fall mostly outside of youth advertising restrictions.
Vaping has also brought with it 15,000 flavors, no scent of smoke, and false advertising about the harm associated with nicotine.

What are some impacts of advertising flavors? Some of Maine’s current data shows:
  1. 81% of kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product.
  2. 85% of youth and 90% of young adults who use e-cigarettes use flavored products.
  3. 70% of teen users cite flavors as a reason they use e-cigarettes.
Ending tobacco flavors will encourage some people to quit,
and many others will never start
Take the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge
HCCA staff, as well as the HCCA-hosted Maine Farm to School and Maine Farm to Institution Networks, are signing up again this year for the annual 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge hosted by Food Solutions New England.

As an organization, we are committed to understanding and undoing racism in food systems and public health. By taking the Challenge, made up of small daily email prompts delivered each morning from April 5 – 25, we can all easily participate in this transformative effort at our own pace. 

Visit the FSNE Challenge website to register.
March is National Nutrition Month
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages Americans to eat a variety of nutritious foods every day, use meal planning, learn new food preparation skills, and find a registered dietitian who can help support your food and nutrition goals. Looking for a fun cooking project to explore some of these ideas? Check out this recipe demo video from SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator Alexis Guy to make these delicious wontons!
HCCA Let's Go!
Mini Grant Supports
Readfield Community Project
Readfield StoryWalk™ Project
Last fall, HCCA awarded eight mini grants totaling $6,000 to local Let’s Go! registered sites for projects to support and sustain 5-2-1-0 messaging.
Readfield Elementary School, in collaboration with Readfield Community Library, used their mini grant to install two permanent StoryWalks™, one at each building on trails that connect the two properties.

Goals of the project include encouraging families to get outdoors in all seasons, to be physically active by walking on local trails, and to engage in reading an activity based book.

Jada Clark, nurse and Let’s Go! Champion at Readfield Elementary School, and Melissa Small, librarian at Readfield Community Library, are excited about how the StoryWalk™ idea is being embraced by the greater community and expanding to involve:

  • High school students from Kent’s Hill and Maranacook High School, who are designing and building the podiums. Learn more in this articleCommunity Design Build Class Launches a Real-World Project
  • Two local businesses, By the Board Lumber in Readfield and Portland Glass in Augusta, who supplied the wood and plexiglass for the podiums
  • A “Sponsor a Book” campaign where community members and businesses donate $40 to sponsor a book for one StoryWalk™.

Library staff and board members have a goal to collect a minimum of 24 different books that feature movement and activity to rotate through the two sites over the course of two years.

In May or June, when the project is complete, there will be a Grand Opening for the community to celebrate the Readfield StoryWalk™ Project.

Learn more about the Let's Go! Program in southern Kennebec County
Contact: Nan Bell at 207-588-5341 or n.bell@hccame.org
HCCA Tobacco Prevention Coordinators Elizabeth Deprey and April Hughes want to spotlight the Kennebec County organizations that committed to providing tobacco-free spaces this year!
RSU 38
Winthrop School District
Berry's Stationers
United Way of Kennebec Valley
Kerish Benttinen Counseling
Albion Public Library
Augusta Boys and Girls Club
Harold Alfond Youth Center
Temple Academy
Conscious Art Therapy
The Healing Place 
Fusion of Windsor
Free ME from Lung Cancer 
Town of China

Contact April Hughes or Elizabeth Deprey to learn how you can join these organizations in creating tobacco-free spaces - and receive a Thank You Grant!
April is Alcohol Awareness Month
Alcohol Awareness Month can make a difference by raising awareness about alcohol abuse and taking action to prevent it— both at home and in the community.

Here are a few ideas:
  • Encourage friends or family members to make small changes, like keeping track of their drinking and setting drinking limits.
  • Share tips with parents to help them talk with their kids about the risks of alcohol use.
  • Ask health care providers to talk to patients about the benefits of drinking less or quitting.
  • If you are drinking too much, you can improve your health by cutting back or quitting.

Here are some strategies to help you cut back or stop drinking:
  • Limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women or 2 drinks a day for men.
  • Keep track of how much you drink.
  • Choose days each week when you will not drink.
  • Don’t drink when you are upset.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you keep at home.
  • Avoid places where people drink a lot.
  • Make a list of reasons not to drink.

Take the Think Responsibly Quiz to find out how responsible your drinking habits are.
For more resources, visit Responsibility.org.

Gardiner Area Community Members Collaborate to
Create Communities
Where Youth Thrive
Most Mainers are familiar with the tradition of barn raising, in which community members meet the challenge of building a barn by coming together to do the work collaboratively. Barn raisings aren’t nearly as common as they once were, but the tradition of community members uniting to build something lives on. A case in point is Gardiner Area Thrives, a coalition of volunteers from Gardiner, Pittston, Randolph, and West Gardiner, working to reduce youth substance use and “build” communities where youth thrive. Read more on the HCCA website.

If you are interested in learning more about Gardiner Area Thrives contact
300 Stakeholders Convene to Explore Connections in the Maine Food System
Maine Farm to Institution (MEFTI) at HCCA co-organized a series of interactive virtual events as part of the Maine Food Convergence for Maine local foods organizers and food system stakeholders to connect and develop collective actions. MEFTI led one of three event tracks—From Farm & Sea: Expanding Local Markets, gathering nearly 100 participants from across Maine’s local food supply chain including state agency reps, distributors, producers, non-profit organizers, and more. Explore the next steps for this track, as well as recordings and resources from the full event, at www.mainefoodconvergence.org.
HCCA Hosts First Annual
Cabin Fever Challenge Fundraiser
HCCA celebrated winter with the Cabin Fever Challenge Fundraiser in February. Community members participated by posting photos of themselves enjoying an outdoor activity using hashtag #HCCACabinFeverChallenge on Facebook and Instagram and donations to HCCA were welcome.
It was great seeing so many community members and their families using the hashtag and enjoying some winter fun!
Five participants won prizes donated by HCCA Board members.
Congratulations to the Winners!
Leann Diehl
Catherine Gross

Beth Drouin
Dan Bell
Racheal Aragore Ratke

Thanks to all who participated!
Vaccine Volunteers Needed
MaineGeneral Health is ramping up the COVID-19 vaccine public clinic schedule at the Augusta Civic Center and is in need of volunteers. Currently there are three clinics daily on weekdays, 4-5 hours each, and some on Saturday too.
Volunteers help move people through the process by helping them check in, guiding them to the right place, watching them in the post-vaccine observation area, etc. Healthcare providers can volunteer to be vaccinators. 
If you are interested in being a volunteer, call Tracy Lloyd at (207) 872-1225.  
Upcoming HCCA Events
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HCCA needs your help to
reach our fundraising goal...
Buy a Hannaford Gift Card from HCCA
5% of the purchase price goes to support
HCCA programs.
Contact Jane Hutchinson
Log onto Amazon Smile and select Healthy Communities of the Capital (no Area) as your charity. Click on this quick demo to learn how.
Click on this DONATE button to make a tax deductable donation and support HCCA public health programing
Our Community Health Champions
Jodi Beck
Benjamin Brown
Patrick Cheek
Samantha Deming-Berr
Cathleen Dunlap
Deborah Emery
Patricia Hart
Patricia Hopkins
*Ranae L'Italien
Lisa Miller
Sarah Miller
Barbara Moss
Merry St. Pierre
Ashley Tetreault
Courtney Yeager