Maine has been awarded a $750,000 federal grant to crack down on teen tobacco use.

The money will go to the Department of Health and Human Services through a contract with the Maine Attorney General’s Office. The agencies did not say how they will spend the money, although both federal and state laws prohibit tobacco sales to anyone under 18 and retailers must check IDs of anyone under 27.

Past efforts to reduce teen smoking in Maine appeared to help, but the trend recently reversed. The rate of smoking among Maine high school students reached a low of 14 percent in 2007, but increased to 18 percent in 2009, according to the state.

Eighty-five percent of people who start smoking before the age of 19 become lifelong smokers, according to the National Center for Disease.

“If we can keep tobacco products out of the hands of teenagers, we can reduce the toll of tobacco-related illnesses on Maine people, families and communities,” Attorney General Janet T. Mills said in a written announcement.

“This contract is timely with Maine seeing an uptick in youth smoking. We expect this stepped up effort combined with the work of the Healthy Maine Partnerships will help get us back on track to seeing a reduction in youth smoking in Maine,” said Health and Human Services Commissioner Brenda Harvey.