L.D. 34 Testimony



L.D. 34, AN ACT TO Promote Equity in Business Opportunity

for Tobacco Specialty Stores


Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services

Room 209, Cross State Office Building

Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 1:00 pm 

Good afternoon Senator Brakey, Representative Hymanson, and Members of the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services. I am Peter Michaud, Associate General Counsel for the Maine Medical Association (MMA) and a registered nurse. I live in Readfield, and I am speaking in opposition to LD 84, An Act to Promote Equity in Business Opportunity for Tobacco Specialty Stores

The MMA is a professional association representing more than 3,800 physicians, residents, and medical students in Maine whose mission is to support Maine physicians, advance the quality of medicine in Maine, and promote the health of all Maine citizens. We represent physicians from all medical specialties, as well as public health and primary care.

LD 34 is an attempt to roll back the protection against smoking in public places, a protection for which so many in Maine worked so hard in order to promote the health of Maine people. Does any member of this Legislature honestly believe that smoking is not harmful to a person’s health? I watched my father-in-law die of lung cancer after smoking plastic tipped cigars most of his adult life, and many Mainers have similar stories. The scientific evidence, the medical evidence, is well-established and clear. How can we as a society, acting in good conscience, enact any legislation that promotes such a dangerous practice? How can we move backward on this issue?

What this bill really does is allow smoking in bars and coffee shops. No, not all bars and coffee shops; there are specific requirements, including a certain percentage volume of tobacco business, for a business to call itself a “tobacco specialty store.” Still, the essence of the bill is to create spaces where smoking is allowed and alcoholic and other beverages are served to the public.

LD 34 is a threat to the public health. It has very little to do with truly promoting business equity. It is a smoking expansion bill in disguise, and it promotes disease and death. We respectfully ask you to vote the bill “Ought Not To Pass.” I would be happy to respond to any questions you may have.